Over 500 Ulez camera offences recorded across London

Image above: A vandalised ULEZ camera

Two arrested so far in connection with vandalised ULEZ cameras

The Metropolitan Police has reported over 500 offences connected to ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) cameras since 1 April of this year, with 159 instances of cameras being stolen and 351 cameras being deliberately damaged.

Vandals, who appear to oppose the ULEZ scheme, have been targeting these Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) devices by severing cables at the rear of the cameras, rendering them inoperable. These cameras play a crucial role in enforcing the daily charge and issuing fines to non-compliant vehicles entering the expanded ULEZ zone, which since 29 August now covers all areas within the M25.

A group identifying itself as ‘the Blade Runners’ has taken to social media to document their actions, showcasing acts of vandalism against these cameras.

In response, the Met initiated an operation in May with the aim of ensuring a proportionate approach and response. The Met said they take criminal actions related to ULEZ seriously, dedicating substantial resources to the operation.

So far two people have been arrested following investigations. One of them has been charged and is awaiting trial until June 2024, while the other case was discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The Metropolitan Police is closely monitoring Anti-ULEZ protests, treating them as potential public order concerns. Depending on the circumstances, bespoke policing plans may be developed for such events, some of which have seen gatherings of 200 to 300 people.

Image above: Man sought in connection with vandalising ULEZ cameras

“Vandalism on our network is unacceptable”

Commander Owain Richards said:

“These are clearly unacceptable acts of criminality and we have a team of officers investigating and identifying those responsible.

“We are providing a proportionate policing response, balancing these incidents against the wide range of operational demand and crime we must respond to across London.

“We are working closely with Transport for London and alongside our investigation into offences already committed we are supporting them identify new ways to prevent further cameras from being damaged or stolen.

“We are continually reviewing where we need to focus our efforts and we will continue to do that over the coming weeks to ensure we are providing the service Londoners expect from us.”

A spokesperson for TfL said: ‘Vandalism on our network is unacceptable. All incidents are reported to the police for investigation.’