A series of leaked emails suggest a local council has been setting minimum parking ticket quotas for its staff, threatening anyone that doesn’t meet its targets with dismissal – an illegal practice.
Emails between the parking manager and supervisors at Labour-run Haringey Council in north London reveal CCTV car operators were told to issue at least 260 fines every day, equating to an annual total of 87,360. Emails also showed the minimum target for local parking wardens was 362 tickets every day.
“The (CCTV cars) target for the year is 87,360. We are confident that we can achieve this target given that we are taking on new operators, return of a CCTV manager and the new cameras coming online,” one of the offending emails read.
The messages were sent on April 10, 2008, 10 days after the government issued guidelines to councils stating parking fine quota systems were illegal. One missive, sent May 7 2010, threatened staff with dismissal or a conduct hearing if the “average expectation” was missed.
Unsurprisingly, locals in the Haringey area were a bit miffed upon hearing the news, with some residents from Highgate Village calling it a “money-making exercise”. Kirsten de Keyser, chairman of the Highgate Society, said: “Nobody should ever impose targets ─ that’s appalling. It’s not some kind of profit-driven business. [Councils] should never use fines and penalties to raise money. It’s immoral and unethical.”
Haringey Council has attempted to defend itself against the claims. A spokesperson said: “Haringey Council does not set targets for parking penalties, and it is inaccurate to claim that we do. In fact, the email from 2010 clearly states that there is not a target for penalty charge notices. The email from 2008 is now five years old.”
The council added: “We did not set targets for PCNs after legislation was changed in 2008. In the case of this email, which was sent just 10 days after legislation was changed, the officer incorrectly used the term ‘targets’ to refer to forecasts for the anticipated number of PCNs for the following year.”
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Source: Daily Mail