PARK in the wrong spot or for too long in Ipswich and you will be fined.
That is guaranteed now Ipswich City Council has cutting-edge automated number plate recognition technology at its disposal.
The camera technology, obtained from video analytics company Sensen Networks, is mounted on a council vehicle and takes infrared and colour photographs of offending vehicles, while making use of a state of the art GPS to plot vehicles' position to within centimetres.
The technology will identify vehicles
parked illegally in school zones, disabled parking zones and on footpaths. The ANPR vehicle can be used to return and photograph vehicles that have overstayed their allotted time.
Health and safety committee chairman Andrew Antoniolli said the technology was being used to particularly target vehicles parked on footpaths and around schools.
"The issue of footpath parking is a hot topic at the moment and the complaints are escalating. The community is tired and frustrated with people who are parking across constructed concrete footpaths and nature strips," he said.
Cr Antoniolli said he was concerned for "people taking part in exercise, mums with their prams and kids walking to schools".
"Sadly, and I have seen this on a number of occasions, kids and mums with prams are having to walk onto the road because cars are parked on footpaths," he said.
"Without this ANPR vehicle it would be impossible to police parking around schools. Despite our best efforts to promote safe and controlled parking around schools, people will consistently break the law.
"This vehicle picks up those offences more easily and acts as a deterrent.
"The demand for parking is high and ensuring turnover is consistently applied is essential around the hospital and for the sake of businesses."
Council has four parking officers working for the health, security and regulatory services department.
Some members of the public had become aggressive with officers verbally and even physically when officers were on foot patrols.
Cr Antoniolli said having the technology in a vehicle also was beneficial in "ensuring the safety and welfare of our staff".
The technology cost the council $85,000 and Cr Antoniolli said it was "cost effective and provides indisputable evidence as well".
Foot patrols will continue.
"Where we need to present a high-profile presence in the CBD that will continue as it always has. Although we can use the vehicle in those locations, we do tend to use our high profile parking officers," he said.
A computer processing unit in the ANPR vehicle collates all the data on offending vehicles.
Once the data is collected, council officers review the information and send out infringement notices where the evidence is compelling.
Offenders can review the fine if they wish. Fines for parking offences range from $35 to $100.
The photo of the offending vehicles are not sent out in the mail, but they soon will be.