by The Traffic Director for London (IT 160A)
In sections 5.4 to 5.9 of my written evidence
I outlined the progress of the bus lane enforcement camera project.
On 9 December 1998 Members of the Committee asked about the "follow-up
rates" for prosecutions after bus lane offences were recorded
on the video cameras. This note gives full details of the processing
of the incidents.
The system involves:
(i) systems operators employed by me viewing
and assessing/selecting infringements against Assessment Guidelines
agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers Traffic Enforcement
(ii) the operator gathering information about
the registered keeper of the vehicle;
(iii) a further reviewing of the selected
incidents by a police officer who authorises the issue of a Notice
of Intended Prosecution (NIP);
(iv) staff at the Metropolitan Police Central
Ticket Office (CTO) issuing Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty
to the driver of the vehicle; and
(v) staff at the Fixed Penalty Office (FPO)
receiving the paid fines.
In addition, any offenders who ultimately receive
a summons for the alleged offence will be dealt with by the Magistrates
All incidents are recorded on the tapes and
are viewed by system operators who identify infringements. As
a result of the process outlined in the paragraph above, approximately
50 per cent of incidents viewed are disregarded for a variety
of reasons, which include:
(a) Technical reasons under the Assessment
Guidelines, such as the vehicle registration plates are indistinct
as a result of the vehicle being out of range of the camera, or
there is insufficient video footage.
(b) Non-technical reasons in accordance with
the Assessment Guidelines, for instance a minor infringement (a
vehicle just "clipping" a lane), or if there is a traffic
warden in the vicinity.
(c) Details of the registered keeper of the
vehicle are not available after referral of registration plate
details, vehicle type and colour to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing
Authority. (No details of the registered keeper can be obtained
in approximately 5 per cent of the total cases submitted to the
(d) The number of cases exceeds the ceiling
which the CTO has set for processing bus lane camera incidents.
(So far this has resulted in approximately 5 per cent of viewed
incidents not being taken forward.)
As a result, approximately 50 per cent of incidents
viewed are disregarded and 50 per cent result in a NIP being issued.
Of the NIPs issued, 93 per cent subsequently
receive a Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty (£20 fine) and
7 per cent result in no further action, either because the driver
of the vehicle cannot be identified or because of a representation
outlining extenuating circumstances.
Of the Conditional Offers, 94 per cent are paid
and the remaining 6 per cent result in a summons. As a result
of the above, approximately 2.5 per cent of the incidents viewed
result in a summons.
Various measures are in hand to improve camera
performance, in order to reduce the number of incidents disregarded
for technical reasons. In addition, I am developing an enhanced
incident viewing and detection computer system which will assist
both my own system operators and staff at the CTO and the FPO
to process many more incidents. Once this development is complete
the system will be able to process many more incidents. However,
I remain concerned whether the police will be able to devote sufficient
resources at the CTO to process the expected number of incidents
as the system is installed London-wide. This concern could be
allayed if an administration charge is added to the penalty, enabling
the police to recover their administration overheads.