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Friday, September 10, 2010

Big Brother and the lollipop

It seems that the advent of a new liberally-inclined government has failed to stem the growth of the Big Brother society after all. In Flintshire at least it is alive and well at every school crossing place.

The Daily Post reports that cameras are being hidden in traffic lollipops to catch out dangerous and careless motorists who fail to stop at a crossing, by providing evidence on film:

The scheme is being trialled for the first time in Wales in Flintshire, where the council says the aim is to make children’s journeys to school safer.

But last night the Automobile Association said it was ‘sad and disappointing’ that Flintshire felt the need to introduce the cameras.

AA president Edmund King raised fears the cameras could lead to road rage, saying ‘aggressive drivers’ gripped by anger could threaten lollipop staff who do a ‘valuable’ job.

But he admitted they may help catch rogue drivers.

He said: “It’s pretty sad and disappointing in this day and age that it’s even considered necessary that a lollipop person helping children cross the road should need to offer extra protection.

“It’s a sad reflection on a minority of drivers who disregard the law.”

He said he was unsure how clear any footage would be, and said its validity as court evidence was ‘debatable’.

The Council say that the cameras are activated when the pole touches the ground and are pointed at the offending car to record the number plate. They will be used for a week-long trial in one Flintshire area, then be passed to another site within the county. They have been introduced after a number of incidents in which motorists have assaulted crossing patrol staff or ignored their demands to stop.

There is no indication as to whether this scheme is regulated by a code of practice including details as to what happens to the pictures afterwards, who has access to them and guidance on whether they can be published or not. That should be part of the trial, the results of which need to be made public.
I can't get upset about this at all.

People who run through lollipop crossings or assault crossing staff deserve to get caught and because this is manually operated and not recording all the time, it shouldn't affect anyone who is acting responsibly.

The reasons against it are cited as "may cause road rage", but how can it when the person being recorded doesn't even know? This isn't like CCTV, which records everyone all the time, it's a tool for helping catch those who have already committed a crime.

It's amazing how people who commit traffic offenses manage to convince themselves they aren't "real" criminals and shouldn't be punished. There aren't many crimes more real than running over a child on a crossing.

Not all cameras are an invasion of your privacy.
Yes, I am fairly relaxed about it to. My only concern is that there are proper guidelines in place as to how the material is controlled and used as with CCTV
here's a different approach to getting people to slow down when there's kids around....

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