Volunteer biker gang foils Westminster CCTV car fleet
Unamused council watches cash trickle through fingers
A band of bikers have recently taken to helping motorists in Westminster identify the London borough's fleet of CCTV smart cars.
The ominous grinding sound in the background is either the sound of gears being changed – or Westminster council welcoming the move from between gritted teeth.
The present confrontation follows a decision by Westminster Council to introduce smart cars in Central London, fitted with four-foot high protruding cameras, "to monitor road safety problem areas".
The council further explains that "the cars will complement the existing network of CCTV cameras and Civil Enforcement Officers".
They are out to "enforce both moving traffic contraventions and parking contraventions through the capture of moving images". However, they are absolutely not a revenue-generation wheeze.
More recently, leader of Westminster Council Colin Barrow was reported to have been calling for an "army of volunteers" to help the state to "develop and deliver local services which had their roots in community provision" - such as libraries and social care.
This was music to the ears of nutsville, a site dedicated to "highlighting corruption, deceit and plain old incompetence in local London councils". They have since set about encouraging, if not directly organising, an army of volunteer bikers to ensure that the smart cars do not inadvertently over-step the mark and start generating revenue.
A Pathé News-style film of the volunteer motorcyclists in action "in their jolly yellow vests helping to escort the council's camera cars around the borough" can be found on Youtube .
A jaunty voice-over adds "what a splendidly invigorating sight it is!", before concluding: "Motorists have said hats off to the plucky motorcyclists. This is a truly spiffing way to save money. Three cheers for these community-minded motorcyclists".
A rather less amused Councillor Lee Rowley, Westminster council's cabinet member for parking, said: "The council's two CCTV cars both have 15 foot cameras and large signage to make them clearly visible and easy for motorists to spot, so I'm not sure that this is the best use of the motorcyclists' time.
"I have already suggested that if these motorcyclists want to volunteer in Westminster I'd be happy to put them in contact with one of the many hundreds of good causes that would welcome additional support, and that offer still stands."
* We have been unable to clarify the precise length of the camera extension. A modest four foot according to the press office - or an implausibly eye-watering 15, as described by Councillor Rowley? Possibly the latter refers to it in its extended state - or is that simply a perk of office? ®