City Watch car clampers fail to meet required standards of parking watchdog

Nicholas Taylor protesting in his car against clampers City Watch

Nicholas Taylor protesting in his car against clampers City Watch

First published in News by

A CLAMPING company which charged drivers up to £465 to release their car is no longer recognised by the British Parking Association (BPA).

The BPA said City Watch Parking Enforcement Ltd was not meeting the “required standards” due to charging in excess of the amounts specified in its code of practice and has now left its Approved Operator Scheme (AOS).

The company had been operating in private car parks throughout Waltham Forest, including in petrol station forecourts, where drivers were charged hundreds of pounds to have a clamp released - including one driver who refused to leave his car for eight hours in protest.

The AOS is intended to provide self-regulation to parking management on private land, but there is currently no legal requirement for companies to follow the BPA’s guidelines.

This could change though if the Government's Crime and Security Bill becomes law, which would introduce a maximum fee for releasing clamped cars and a requirement for clampers to be registered and implement an appeal system.

The bill is currently being read in the House of Lords, but Walthamstow MP Neil Gerrard, who supports the Bill, said he cannot predict the likelihood of it being passed before the general elections.

He said: “It is good the BPA has taken notice, but it doesn't stop someone else coming along, so until we get proper regulation, there is still a potential problem.”

We tried to contact City Watch for a comment, but its telephone number and website are currently out of action.

A BPA spokeswoman said: “The BPA always strives to work with members of the Approved Operator Scheme to ensure that any potential breaches of the code of practice are remedied, as this is in the best interests of the motorist.

"Unfortunately, in some cases, members are unable to comply with the code and cannot remain in the scheme.

"The BPA would welcome further regulation of the private parking industry. We are currently working with the government to introduce an independent appeals process which will bring greater transparency and fairness to the sector.”

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Comments (9)

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2:25pm Wed 31 Mar 10

Walthamstow noob says...

As far as I understand it, this won't stop them clamping people. However, being a member of the BPA is required in order to buy registered keeper details from the DVLA, so this might stop them issuing invoices or tickets to drivers by post.

word verification 'shut-shop' :-)
As far as I understand it, this won't stop them clamping people. However, being a member of the BPA is required in order to buy registered keeper details from the DVLA, so this might stop them issuing invoices or tickets to drivers by post. word verification 'shut-shop' :-) Walthamstow noob
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Wed 31 Mar 10

jack de large says...

It is illegal for anyone who is not a member of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to clamp on private land, but if they are they can still clamp. The comment is correct, it is an outrage that these bandits have not been eradicated from our streets earlier. I think it is disgusting to see the number of vehicles that prowl our streets waiting to pounce on the unwary, everything from smart cars to lorries seven days a week.
It is illegal for anyone who is not a member of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to clamp on private land, but if they are they can still clamp. The comment is correct, it is an outrage that these bandits have not been eradicated from our streets earlier. I think it is disgusting to see the number of vehicles that prowl our streets waiting to pounce on the unwary, everything from smart cars to lorries seven days a week. jack de large
  • Score: 0

5:05pm Wed 31 Mar 10

jack de large says...

It is illegal for anyone who is not a member of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to clamp on private land, but if they are they can still clamp. The comment is correct, it is an outrage that these bandits have not been eradicated from our streets earlier. I think it is disgusting to see the number of vehicles that prowl our streets waiting to pounce on the unwary, everything from smart cars to lorries seven days a week.
It is illegal for anyone who is not a member of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) to clamp on private land, but if they are they can still clamp. The comment is correct, it is an outrage that these bandits have not been eradicated from our streets earlier. I think it is disgusting to see the number of vehicles that prowl our streets waiting to pounce on the unwary, everything from smart cars to lorries seven days a week. jack de large
  • Score: 0

7:26am Thu 1 Apr 10

jack de large says...

I notice that the scum at Citywatch have not attempted to defend their appalling practices. I am convinced that what they do is against the Human Rights Act (see protocol 1, article 1) which states "everyone is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions". It also prevents the state of public authorities depriving anyone of their possessions unless it is in the public interest. How could it have been in the public interest in the case of Mr Taylor? More people should stand up to these hideous bullies, well done Mr Taylor.

These people and private bailiffs rely on people's ignorance of the law, and by people, I include the police who are as aware that the law in this area is either shrouded in mystery or, like the Human Rights Act, difficult to access. I'm pleased to see that at least one of our local MPs is backing the general public and attempting to stamp out this stain on the fabric of society.
I notice that the scum at Citywatch have not attempted to defend their appalling practices. I am convinced that what they do is against the Human Rights Act (see protocol 1, article 1) which states "everyone is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of their possessions". It also prevents the state of public authorities depriving anyone of their possessions unless it is in the public interest. How could it have been in the public interest in the case of Mr Taylor? More people should stand up to these hideous bullies, well done Mr Taylor. These people and private bailiffs rely on people's ignorance of the law, and by people, I include the police who are as aware that the law in this area is either shrouded in mystery or, like the Human Rights Act, difficult to access. I'm pleased to see that at least one of our local MPs is backing the general public and attempting to stamp out this stain on the fabric of society. jack de large
  • Score: 0

8:28pm Fri 2 Apr 10

john de large says...

i have a drive way where people often park and i cant get access to my own property because of it. i would quite happily employ a clamping firm such as city watch to patrol it for me. as for the so called excessive fees they charge, if it stops people re-offending and allows my wife to get the babys pram through the front door without having to fold it down first then bring it on.why should my baby be woken up just because somebody doesnt want to pay for a parking place?! its MY property, I pay for it and other people abuse it yet never listen if i protest about it and just throw away notes i leave on their windscreens. im not a big guy and am definately not a punchy person so if anyone from citywatch is reading this then PLEASE find a way to get in touch and i will sign a contract with you tomorrow!!!All of you that say clamping is immoral and unjustified obviously dont have parking issues and have probably been clamped yourselves for taking liberties on other peoples property.
i have a drive way where people often park and i cant get access to my own property because of it. i would quite happily employ a clamping firm such as city watch to patrol it for me. as for the so called excessive fees they charge, if it stops people re-offending and allows my wife to get the babys pram through the front door without having to fold it down first then bring it on.why should my baby be woken up just because somebody doesnt want to pay for a parking place?! its MY property, I pay for it and other people abuse it yet never listen if i protest about it and just throw away notes i leave on their windscreens. im not a big guy and am definately not a punchy person so if anyone from citywatch is reading this then PLEASE find a way to get in touch and i will sign a contract with you tomorrow!!!All of you that say clamping is immoral and unjustified obviously dont have parking issues and have probably been clamped yourselves for taking liberties on other peoples property. john de large
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Sat 3 Apr 10

jack de large says...

Well "John de large", ( absolutely no relation!) if someone parked across your drive, surely clamping them and therefore in mobilising them is the last thing you would want. As my Dad frequently points out, clamping is not a deterrent, it is simply a way of extorting money, like clamping on private land, the idea is the offending vehicle was trespassing so why would you want to keep the vehicle there. For that reason it is regarded as illegal.
Well "John de large", ( absolutely no relation!) if someone parked across your drive, surely clamping them and therefore in mobilising them is the last thing you would want. As my Dad frequently points out, clamping is not a deterrent, it is simply a way of extorting money, like clamping on private land, the idea is the offending vehicle was trespassing so why would you want to keep the vehicle there. For that reason it is regarded as illegal. jack de large
  • Score: 0

10:23am Sun 4 Apr 10

john de large says...

How is it regarded as illegal? if clamping was illegal then it simply would not be allowed to happen and the police would become involved as it would be classed as a criminal activity.
as everybody often comments, clamping firms clamp the car and then remove it with a lorry so it would no longer be on my driveway. if it didnt get removed then the 'hefty' fines to remove the wheel clamp will atleast deter whoever it is parked there not to park there again. i have a car outside at the moment that has been there all night.why should i have to put up with it and why should my wife and baby have to put up with it?? it doesnt even have an in date tax disc!!
How would everyone who hates clampers so much like it if somebody blocked their driveway and went shopping for 4-5 hours making them pay to park on the road or risk them getting a parking ticket. if people dont like the hefty fines then park somewhere on the road where the fine isnt so heavy. ive seen the warning boards that clamping companies put up and they arent exactly small, if you want to ignore them and take the chance then surely the risk is all down to yourself. or quite simply DONT park on somebody elses property. Its the people who park there that are in the wrong not the clamping company. what would/could the police do if i called them and asked them about this car outside at the moment, theyd either laugh, never turn up or if they did they wouldnt do anything about it. THATS why we need clamping firms, not the rogue firms admittedly who really are extorting money but reputable companies, ones that have the SIA approval and the approved contractor award, which incidentally i believe the people at citywatch have. Ive noticed how its always the people that have been clamped that complain to newspapers etc, at the end of the day, theyve taken the risk despite being warned so on their own head be it. i bet citywatch's actual customers think they run an excellent service clamping and removing illegally parked cars from their car parks and drive ways enabling them to park on their own property. perhaps we should ask a few of them of their own opinion instead of just the offenders opinions and get a real un-biased opinion on it all. I will be contacting citywatch as soon as possible to try and have a contract signed with them, after all with the amount of publicity they get from selfish people they have clamped they must be good at their jobs and run an effective service.
How is it regarded as illegal? if clamping was illegal then it simply would not be allowed to happen and the police would become involved as it would be classed as a criminal activity. as everybody often comments, clamping firms clamp the car and then remove it with a lorry so it would no longer be on my driveway. if it didnt get removed then the 'hefty' fines to remove the wheel clamp will atleast deter whoever it is parked there not to park there again. i have a car outside at the moment that has been there all night.why should i have to put up with it and why should my wife and baby have to put up with it?? it doesnt even have an in date tax disc!! How would everyone who hates clampers so much like it if somebody blocked their driveway and went shopping for 4-5 hours making them pay to park on the road or risk them getting a parking ticket. if people dont like the hefty fines then park somewhere on the road where the fine isnt so heavy. ive seen the warning boards that clamping companies put up and they arent exactly small, if you want to ignore them and take the chance then surely the risk is all down to yourself. or quite simply DONT park on somebody elses property. Its the people who park there that are in the wrong not the clamping company. what would/could the police do if i called them and asked them about this car outside at the moment, theyd either laugh, never turn up or if they did they wouldnt do anything about it. THATS why we need clamping firms, not the rogue firms admittedly who really are extorting money but reputable companies, ones that have the SIA approval and the approved contractor award, which incidentally i believe the people at citywatch have. Ive noticed how its always the people that have been clamped that complain to newspapers etc, at the end of the day, theyve taken the risk despite being warned so on their own head be it. i bet citywatch's actual customers think they run an excellent service clamping and removing illegally parked cars from their car parks and drive ways enabling them to park on their own property. perhaps we should ask a few of them of their own opinion instead of just the offenders opinions and get a real un-biased opinion on it all. I will be contacting citywatch as soon as possible to try and have a contract signed with them, after all with the amount of publicity they get from selfish people they have clamped they must be good at their jobs and run an effective service. john de large
  • Score: 0

3:16pm Tue 6 Apr 10

Walthamstow noob says...

While I can understand the argument John de large is making, the fact that he doesn't appear to have commented here before coupled with the obvious enthusiasm and defence of Citywatch makes me suspicious. For someone who feels powerless to stop people parking on your property, you seem to know a lot about the process which makes your comments sound more like a testimonial to me. Even a basic google search for Citywatch clamping shows 2 pages of results all complaining about Citywatch before their own website is even listed. That (and their website being down) doesn't sound like a company operating an effective service to me.
While I can understand the argument John de large is making, the fact that he doesn't appear to have commented here before coupled with the obvious enthusiasm and defence of Citywatch makes me suspicious. For someone who feels powerless to stop people parking on your property, you seem to know a lot about the process which makes your comments sound more like a testimonial to me. Even a basic google search for Citywatch clamping shows 2 pages of results all complaining about Citywatch before their own website is even listed. That (and their website being down) doesn't sound like a company operating an effective service to me. Walthamstow noob
  • Score: 0

12:14pm Sun 11 Apr 10

john de large says...

it was whilst looking for citywatch on the net that i came across this site, ive never been on here before and very rarely would comment on a site anyway. Obviously im going to do some research on a company before i use them or employ them but all i can find on citywatch is complaints from people who have been clamped themselves, there are no comments from people who use their services so obviously,as i see it anyway, they must do a good job. if you can show me a complaint from a company using them then fair enough but i cant personally find any.in all honesty so far as i can see it, if citywatch put the warning board on my drive,due to the publicity theyve had people probably wont park on my drive anyway, so happy days all round
it was whilst looking for citywatch on the net that i came across this site, ive never been on here before and very rarely would comment on a site anyway. Obviously im going to do some research on a company before i use them or employ them but all i can find on citywatch is complaints from people who have been clamped themselves, there are no comments from people who use their services so obviously,as i see it anyway, they must do a good job. if you can show me a complaint from a company using them then fair enough but i cant personally find any.in all honesty so far as i can see it, if citywatch put the warning board on my drive,due to the publicity theyve had people probably wont park on my drive anyway, so happy days all round john de large
  • Score: 0

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