Staggering number of fines... but it’s working
Are speed cameras a good thing? I’m not actually going to get into that debate now, but it is a similar question to the one being asked about the city council’s clampdown on anti-social behaviour. Speed cameras slow drivers down, but do they solve the problem of speeding? Spot fines act as a deterrent but do they solve the problem of littering, cycling in pedestrian areas and general anti-social behaviour? This week we have highlighted the results of the council’s ‘clampdown’ which has seen an outside company drafted in to help issue thousands of £80 spot fines in a relatively short space of time. If every person caught pays the minimum fine the authority will still rake in more than £170,000 from the penalties issued so far... almost a revenue stream rather than a deterrent. But undeniably, more cyclists are dismounting in Bridge Street now. We still see cyclists flouting the riding ban, but nowhere near as frequently. As for those caught spitting or urinating in public they get what they deserve. It’s important for the city’s prosperity that the centre and other areas feel safe, welcoming and clean. That is what the council’s campaign is designed to achieve. It’s also important that the campaign does not go so far as to make average citizens feel threatened or concerned about being fined for making a mistake, or accidentally dropping something when visiting the city. A balance must be achieved. Lib Dem group leader Nick Sandford also makes a fair point that the council should be focusing on the major incidents of littering. While this might be right, we also need to remember that the council is reacting to many, genuine public concerns. Some cyclists were endangering the public by speeding through Bridge Street... it had to be tackled. Littering, spitting and urinating simply shouldn’t be tolerated and had to be tackled. The clampdown may be viewed by some as something of a sledgehammer to crack a nut... but at least in this case the nut is starting to crack.