I choked on my cornflakes this morning when the august Radio 4 Today programme told me that the Sun and Mail were reporting that Ealing council was thinking of using spy cameras to persecute the good people of Ealing. What a load of pants.
Yesterday the Standard carried a ridiculous story that spy cameras were to be used to harass people putting out their bin bags. No, the borough is already using CCTV to catch persistent fly-tippers. Back in June I reported that in Northfield ward:
Some of the flytippers will be in for a nasty surprise over the next few weeks as David [our envirocrime protection team leader] has got the use of a mobile camera. We should be seeing some mugshots soon.
Shortly after pictures of offenders who had been fly-tipping on the side roads off Northfield Avenue appeared in Around Ealing – hardly covert.
The Standard story talked about the cameras being used to police a move to 2 weekly collections. Utter garbage. We asked people about this during our recent waste consultation and not surprisingly the response from people was so negative that the Conservative group, which is committed to actually providing the services people want, would not dream of going to two weekly collections.
As I found on my Southall tour last week we have some people who really mess up the neighbourhood with fly-tipping. We will be using cameras to trap these people. We will not clean up Ealing by running around after these people with a van picking up their mess. We need to change their behaviour and with fly-tippers that means catching them and prosecuting them.
The Mail story is a straight copy of the Standard story – fair enough as they are sister papers from Associated Newspapers. The Sun story has simply lifted all the quotes out of the Standard article and randomly phoned up an Ealing resident called Danny Christie at some ungodly hour of the night to get a quote. You can judge the standard of the journalism and fact checking by the fact that Labour’s councillor Sharma has had a sex change according to the Sun. Maybe Sharma will make the News of the World on Sunday. The so-called journalist at the Standard is called Ellen Widdup – wind up surely?