Councils Accused Of Cashing In On CCTV Fines
Councils have been accused of using CCTV cameras to collect millions of pounds in parking and traffic fines.
Big Brother Watch disputes claims by many local authorities who say the cameras are used to ensure the safety of the public and not to raise funds.
According to figures obtained by the group under the Freedom Of Information Act, local authorities issued £312m worth of fixed penalty notices for traffic contraventions.
Emma Carr, deputy director of Big Brother Watch, said: "The use of CCTV and spy cars for parking enforcement should be banned.
"The fact that no councils publish proper statistics about how these cameras are used highlights that many know that their CCTV operation is about raising money, not about public safety."
London boroughs accounted for around 90%, or £285m, of the cash raised.
The top five highest revenue-raising councils were Camden, Ealing, Lambeth, Westminster and Harrow.
Brandon Lewis, Minister for Local Government, said: "It is clear that CCTV is being used to raise money in industrial volumes for town halls, breaking the constitutional principle that fines should not be used as a source of revenue.
"The public want to see CCTV being used to catch criminals not to persecute shoppers and hard-working people."
Councillor Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association's Economy and Transport Board, said: "It is frustratingly familiar to hear Big Brother Watch again peddling the myth that councils are enforcing parking regulations just to raise money.
"Road safety campaigners, schools, disability and pedestrian charities and councils have all come together to warn the Government that banning CCTV parking enforcement will put school children and disabled pedestrians at risk and worsen road safety."
The figures provided in the report cover the period March 1, 2008, to March 1, 2013.