Let’s talk about Greater Manchester Police’s camera cars. These little buggers have recently sprung up all over the place. They are growing like cellulite on a fat girls thighs.
Very often on my drive toward central Manchester down the A57 Hyde Road, I see one of these parked up. They are very often to be found lurking on the pavement at Reddish Bridge snooping on the oncoming traffic. Going the other way, they lurk on the pavement on the M67/M60 roundabout at Denton (Sorry Rozzers – I feel the public should know).
This must be the new sharp end of policing in Greater Manchester. Pay a guy to sit on his fat arse half the day and snoop on passing traffic. Really, do the police have nothing better to do than cough up thousands of pounds each (of our money) for these things? They must generate more money than they cost or else we would not be seeing them everywhere. That means, you and I dear reader, are paying our local taxes to be snooped upon by the Old Bill so they can harangue us through the mail for money for various non-offences.
Here is what they look like:
Observe the sneaky camera located on the roof of the car. It is helpfully highlighted above by an arrow in case your peepers are not too keen.
So what are these latest manifestations of the Big Brother State all about? Well, of course, they are about raising some cash for the Old Bill. I am not 100% sure which dreadful crimes against humanity these things are designed to capture. No doubt they will be ANPR enabled, which means they check your number plate against the DVLA database and that allegedly tells them if you are insured and taxed. Probably they have the capability to detect such heinous crimes as not wearing a seatbelt, which I got a demand for recently for sixty quid having been photographed by some covert police operative. You even get a photo of yourself through the mail to prove to you what a danger to society you really are.
Does it stop astonished-looking and totally clueless Nigerian asylum seekers drifting from lane to lane aimlessly in an old dented Rover? No, not at all. That would take actual Rozzers in a real traffic car. Not these little pen pushers in their low-budget “Smart Cars”. Those things have lawnmower engines are and not capable of a hot pursuit. The real cops are stuck at the station filling in 276 health and safety forms – in triplicate – for the EU, rather than doing some actual policing.
How embarrassing must it be at a barbecue to have someone ask you “What do you do?” and you reply “I sit in a Smart Car all day photographing people to raise money from hapless motorists” I wonder? Probably those guys prefer to use a macho term like “traffic enforcement” to make themselves feel better about what they do. Saying, “I sit with a camera all day on a verge hoping to catch Mrs Mablethorpe with a two day out-of-date tax disc” is not too ego enhancing.
What does this stuff cost us? Well, the guy in the car must cost us £25k a year (perhaps more with pensions and other stuff). Add to that the £10k or so for the Smart Car. What must the camera and equipment cost? Ten grand? Then there is all his insurances and associated costs. On top of that will be a multitude of Quango outfits that will need to “certify” the camera at regular intervals. Servicing and uniforms…. triplicate EU form filling…..other stuff I forgot…..lets add £10k for all that. These things must cost us £55,000 a year each. At least.
Now these guys have generous holidays no doubt; being in the public sector. So minus weekends, paternity leave, holidays, classes as to why you should give a black man with a wrap of crack outside a school the benefit of the doubt, sick leave, team bonding weekends, ethnic diversity education seminars, etc., they likely only really work half the year in reality. That means each of those cars has to earn £300 a day just to break even. Now, out of this revenue they collect, there will be a deduction for the Central Ticket Office to myther people for the money, a cut for the courts, probably the council, defaults and non-payers to consider, various other deductions for numerous other government departments you never knew existed……… so, we can safely double that. So we are at £600 a day.
Now, they need to make a profit. Anything less than 100% wouldn’t work. It is more likely 200% or 300%, but lets run with a mere 100% for arguments sake. That means each car must generate £1200 a day. If the average fine is £60, that means only 20 tickets a day. Actually, it more likely means 20 tickets a shift. The Rozzers work on eight hour shifts, so that means only 2.5 tickets an hour. That means one every 24 minutes. And you can bet your arse that these guys will be targeted for something well beyond that. So that means that little Jackass sat in that comedy car on the pavement must find something to fine someone for every fifteen or twenty minutes or he misses his target and doesn’t get his invite to the policeman’s ball this year.
Isn’t this country a sad place to live in if we are reduced to this? I think so.
What do you know about these camera cars? Do you have them where you live? Lets talk! Use the comment box below to tell the world.