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Dartford Council leader backs plans to rein in "over-zealous spy cars"

PUBLISHED: 12:57 08 October 2013 | UPDATED: 12:57 08 October 2013

Local government secretary Eric Pickles. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett

Local government secretary Eric Pickles. Picture: PA/ Suzanne Plunkett

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cars equipped with CCTV cameras used by councils to catch motorists parking illegally could be banned according to the local government secretary - a move supported by Dartford Council.

Eric Pickles announced plans to do away with the vehicles – dubbed “spy cars” – to let traffic wardens do the job instead.

Council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite says they do not use them but the council has the power to if it needs to.

He said: “They should not trap motorists into committing offences and they should not be breaking rules themselves.

“They can be useful in making the roads safe around schools but only if used correctly.”

The cars are estimated to have been used to issue 10 million fines worth £301m nationally in the past five years.

Mr Pickles said: “We want to rein in these over-zealous and unfair rules on parking enforcement, so it focuses on supporting high streets and motorists, not raising money.

“Parking spy cars are just one example of this and a step too far. Public confidence is strengthened in CCTV if it is used to tackle crime, not to raise money for council coffers.”

Civil liberties groups called for councils to be more transparent about the level of surveillance from the cars.

But the Local Government Association, representing local authorities, said the cars help keep children safe near schools and improve traffic flow.

Cllr Kite added: “It’s about being sensible - they should not be used as a revenue generator and should be subject to the same road laws as any other vehicles.”

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