New camera car is winning battle to keep schools safe

The ANPR car, with from left, Councillor David Barker, David Furness and Councillor Jack Scott

We have ignition! Sheffield City Council is using a vehicle fitted with an on-board camera to help enforce against drivers who endanger children and flout the law close to the school gates.

The ANPR-vehicle is now being used across Sheffield to help Civil Enforcement Officers educate parents about parking responsibly outside the school gates.

Using automatic number plate recognition technology, the camera can be used by council officers in four types of locations – for cars that are parked in bus lanes, those that are parked on School Keep Clear zig zag lines outside the school gates and on bus stop clear ways across the city.

They can also be used on new red routes that are set to be introduced across the city. Red routes are major roads on which vehicles are not permitted to stop and which extend to stopping for loading or unloading, and to boarding or alighting from a vehicle except for licensed taxis and the holders of blue badges. Red routes are mainly used on major routes.

The ANPR camera car will drive past schools, bus stop clearways and bus lanes recording video footage of any infringement it detects. Civil Enforcement Officers don’t need to stop and issue the ticket at that point. The tickets will be sent via post to the registered keeper of the vehicle. The keeper can then pay or challenge the Penalty Charge Notice.  Evidence shows this changes the behaviour if people who think they can gamble on parking in these site, where no stopping at all is allowed.

Councillors were at Mosborough School on Thursday, a school with an excellent reputation for encouraging alternatives to parking outside the school gates, to launch the scheme.

The school takes an active role in walk to school schemes and has recently encouraged parents to park in three of the local pubs rather than outside the school gates.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Development at Sheffield City Council, said:

“This is another important tool in our fight to make sure all drivers act safely and responsibly, especially outside school gates. Having this automatic system in place means that a record of any violation is held instantly. It’s much better and quicker to do this automatically.

“Mosborough School is to be applauded for the excellent steps it is taking to encourage alternative forms of transport and parking. We support them in their work and know how important it is. The message I am sending out today is that now we have this ready to go, we will not tolerate any problem parking outside our school gates, even if it’s only for a second.

“Traffic regulation orders and signs are in place for a reason. It is simply not acceptable to drop your children off at zig zags outside a school. It is dangerous, irresponsible and it won’t be tolerated. I am giving fair notice today that when schools come back in September, people can expect to see this rolled out across the city and we won’t hesitate to take action against drivers who put children’s lives at risk.

“I’m absolutely committed to making our schools as safe as they can be for Sheffield children. This ANPR system will help us to tackle problem parkers outside schools and elsewhere across the city.”

Councillor David Barker, local Councillor for Mosborough said:

“As a ward Councillor, I’ve heard the concerns of local people in Mosborough and we are taking action. The school does a lot to manage the situation and I hope having the car here today sends a clear message out to everyone about how seriously we take children’s safety.”