On Wednesday 1st October, Lawupdates.co.uk featured in the East Kent Gazette newspaper (The Gazette & Times). The lawupdates.co.uk article featured on page 6 of the newspaper’s ‘letters page’. The letter was written in response to an ‘angry motorist’ in the Sittingbourne area, whom believed they had been issued a ‘mistimed’ parking ticket.
The concern raised by the motorist was that on the 5th August, they received a parking ticket that may have been 16 minutes ahead of the ‘real’ time. The ‘angry motorist’ suggested that they checked the time with other passers by who confirmed that the ‘angry motorist’ time, was the accurate time. It appears the ‘angry motorist’ letter was written with the intentions of hoping to hear from any other people that had received parking tickets in the same car park that day. Therefore, the ‘angry motorist’ hoped to find out if any other motorists had suffered from possible parking ticket ‘mistiming’.
In turn, lawupdates.co.uk suggested another way for the ‘angry motorist’ to establish whether the parking ticket was ‘mistimed’. Therefore, lawupdates.co.uk wrote in response and drew attention to the little known area of using the Data Protection Act to view local authorities CCTV footage.
“After reading the letter (“Timing the Tickets”, Gazette and Times, September 17th), I should like to pass the following information onto your readers. The letter titled “Timing the tickets” raised the concern that the writer had been incorrectly issued with a parking ticket 16 minutes ahead of the ‘real’ time.
It appears that the motorist’s problem with the appeal is being able to independently verify his or her actions and the time stated on the ticket. However, under the Data Protection Act (1998), the public have the right to ask Swale Council (a public body) for a copy of all the personal information that it holds about you, for the purposes of providing services to the individual. This can include access to the individual information held on the Swale Council’s CCTV surveillance system.
To make an application, download:
Swale Councils civil request for CCTV tape review (PDF file)
Swales CCTV Forms
The angry motorist can, therefore, make a civil request for the CCTV information. It would be a good idea if the motorist asked for the footage at 1.45pm on August 5th. CCTV is typically date-stamped, so the motorist will be able have independent evidence that he returned to his or her car at 1.45pm.
Please note, it will be unlikely he or she could have footage of the ticket being issued, unless it is blurred, as it may be an unfair intrusion into the privacy of another person -civil enforcement officer. However, the footage of the ticket and his return can still be viewed.
Usually, these requests need to be done in person, with identification and a fee of £10.00 is charged. However, the reader can have the information placed onto a CD, which can be presented with the footage, car park ticket and parking ticket for what should hopefully have a successful appeal.
To find out further information on how to request CCTV footage in public areas, please see:
Sources: Gazette & Times, Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 (East Kent Gazette).
Photo: Nick Pye
Have you ever used the Data Protection Act to gain access to your local councils CCTV footage?