Following on from the incident earlier this year when a man was arrested for driving past a school with his dashboard camera switched on in the middle of the night, a spokesperson from the local education authority has confirmed that from January 1st 2016 it will be illegal to drive past a Southend school with a dashboard camera operating. Local police officers will be given new powers to impound vehicles that break this new local law, and drivers who leave their cameras running (both intentionally and accidentally) will run the risk of being added to the Sex Offenders Register for life.
The spokesperson confirmed the new arrangement in a statement to Southend News Network. He said, ‘We were contacted by more than 1400 concerned parents after the arrest of a gentleman who drove past a school with his dashboard camera operating, and naturally they were all concerned that their children had been filmed crossing the street and riding their £19.99 scooters along the kerb. You never know who is driving a car these days, and our research shows that more than 45% of all convicted sex offenders in the past have known how to drive a car. The statistics speak for themselves, and so it was time to take action.’
The statement continued, ‘Our message is very clear. If you are driving past a school in Southend, regardless of the time of day or night, you are putting yourself and local children at risk by having your camera recording. It takes a few seconds to pull over, switch off the camera, remove the wiring between the camera and 9V power supply, and put everything into a sealed envelope. Once you are 100m away from the school, you can then reinstall your dashboard camera. For the avoidance of doubt, the term ‘school’ refers to any building where children are being educated, or any other area where children may be present – this includes shopping centres, youth clubs, supermarkets, markets, banks, hospitals, parks and pavements.’
Morris Volvo, chief executive of the Southend Safer Children Consortium Partnership Consortium, welcomed the news. He said, ‘No parents should have to lay awake at night worrying that a dashboard camera has recorded footage of their children. If this new scheme is successful, it will only be a matter of time before shops and town centres remove their CCTV cameras as well – we really cannot be too careful when children are involved.’