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Dodgy drivers caught on school crossing camera

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School crossing patrollers at blackspots will get body cameras to record thoughtless drivers, if a pilot scheme proves successful.

“Lollipop man” Len Howard is trying out the equipment after suffering from motorists driving past him without stopping, endangering pupils and parents about to cross the road.

He has also experienced drivers winding windows down to shout abuse at him.

West Sussex County Council has now joined with Camelsdale Primary School, near Billingshurst and Sussex Police to trial a body camera outside the school gates.

Len wears the body camera, christened by the school as ‘Len’s Lens’, across his chest.

Attached by the lapels of his coat, it can capture audio and video of motorists driving dangerously or being abusive.

Temporary signs are up outside the school to warn offending motorists they are now on camera.

Head teacher Sarah Palmer said: “We were concerned about the safety of our children and parents.

“We have done a number of initiatives over many years and we are now lucky enough to have Len, our School Crossing Patrol officer, who stands on a busy road by a junction on the brow of a hill.

“There have been a few instances when drivers have driven through without stopping when he is about to take children across the road.

“We heard about the body cameras and felt it was an idea worth investigating.”

The camera records every shift a School Crossing Patrol works.

If footage is captured of an offence, it is passed onto Sussex Police to consider as evidence for prosecution.

If nothing of note happens, the memory card is wiped.

It is an offence to drive past a School Crossing Patrol while they are in the road.

If caught they will receive a fine and three points on their licence, the same as they would receive for driving through a red light.

West Sussex County Council has worked with the school and police since December 2015 to get the scheme off the ground.

It is the first authority in the south of England to receive the backing of police for School Crossing Patrols to wear body cameras.

Sussex Police’s Acting Sergeant, Phil Badman, said: “Drivers who contravene school crossing patrols are putting other roads users at serious risk.

“Crossings are designed for safe passage of pedestrians, including children, and some current driver behaviour is unacceptable.
“We will be working in conjunction with Sussex Police’s Operation Crackdown and school crossing patrols, and we will be dealing with such offenses with the most positive option available in order to eradicate such irresponsible and poor driving.”
If the trial proves successful, it will be introduced outside other schools in the county where there is evidence of similar problems.

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, John O’Brien said: “School Crossing Patrols are there to keep our children safe when they cross the road.

“Sadly we have problems, of varying degrees, with drive-throughs and abusive language, at some of our sites.

“School Crossing Patrols experience these problems. Abuse is awful and completely unnecessary.

“Our message is please respect them – if you don’t you could be liable to prosecution.”

 Members of the public can report anti-social driving via www.operationcrackdown.org

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