London Borough trials use of PSPOs to cut dangerous parking around schools


The London Borough of Havering has introduced Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to crack down on dangerous driving and parking during the school run. This is the first pilot scheme of its kind in the UK to use Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), making anti-social driving a criminal offence in areas around schools.

Introduced in 2014, PSPOs are intended to prevent specific acts in a designated geographical area that would not otherwise be criminal offences. To enforce the new scheme, a Videalert CCTV-based traffic enforcement and management system has been installed as part of an initial pilot contract awarded to OpenView Security Solutions. The pilot scheme has resulted in a 90% reduction in traffic in around schools during drop off and pick up times. A full consultation with parents and local residents was carried out prior to invoking PSPO legislation, which showed 77% or higher approval ratings for each of the first four schools chosen to pilot the scheme.

The PSPOs operate from 8:00-9.30am and 2.30-4:00 pm Monday to Friday during term time and allow the council to treat dangerous parking as a criminal offence, where a child’s life has thought to have been endangered. The CCTV-based enforcement system is being provided by Videalert using CEaaS (Civil Enforcement as a Service), a fully managed service that uses the company’s Department for Transport (DfT) manufacturer certified hosted platform.

As part of the pilot project, 33 three cameras have been installed by OpenView on streets around the first four schools, to monitor all areas and not just the ‘Keep Clear’ zones. Videalert’s solution allows multiple cameras to use a single RDS ‘processor up a pole’ unit. This significantly reduces costs and the level of street furniture that has to be installed and supported. Video evidence packs are automatically compiled for review by Chipside staff to ensure they are 100% correct with all evidential quality video images before FPNs are issued. Any fines will go to the Crown and not Havering Council, as they would be criminal rather than civil prosecutions.

Osman Dervish, cabinet member for community safety at Havering Council, believes that the deterrent of potential criminal proceedings is the best way to improve road safety during term time. Dervish noted, “Poor, irresponsible behavior from a minority of parents created an unsafe environment for the majority of parents and their children. Hearts and minds campaigns, 1,200 parking tickets, excellent school travel planning, and letters from the children themselves pleading for a change in behavior have all failed to create a safe environment around our schools.”

Tim Daniels, sales and marketing director of Videalert, commented, “It is too soon to say whether schemes of this kind will be widely adopted, but this unique initiative is receiving widespread attention from local authorities across the country which will be closely monitoring the results. However, such a scheme clearly demonstrates the sophistication and flexibility of our solution for addressing complex traffic and parking scenarios, whilst minimizing on-street infrastructure and operational costs.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).