Friday, March 23, 2012

Images are being recorded.

We are all used to seeing signs and hearing announcements about CCTV images being recorded everywhere we go. It has become the norm in Britain today for everyone to have their movements monitored every day. The coach I drive every day is fitted with 8 CCTV cameras which record everything that happens. You would think that CCTV images would only be viewed when an incident needs to be investigated.

Unfortunately things have now moved onto a darker side as Michael Shephard has now found out. Michael Shephard was given the boot by bosses after he was spotted popping a grape into his mouth on CCTV. The grandad from Coventry was in his cab at the time but he says he was not driving. Mr Shephard, of Ravensdale Road, Wyken, who has been driving buses for National Express for more than five years, was suspended after the incident was captured by CCTV on the bus two weeks ago. He said: "I don't eat or drink while I am driving but I was just sat stationary at the bus terminus in Bedworth for a few minutes and took a grape to wet my mouth a bit."

The public image of CCTV is one of safety and protection but now we know the darker side. It has become a tool to control staff and sack them for petty things, even when a compliant or incident has not arisen. CCTV was first installed in buses and coaches not for the safety and protection of passengers but to deal with fraudulent claims from passengers and other road users. The manufacturers claimed any operator would get their money back within 18 months by stopping fraud. Now CCTV is being used to catch any driver out whom the employer wishes to sack. As this sad tale reveals, the sacking can be for the most petty of issues.

What can bus and coach drivers do? Absolutely nothing and this story shows just how little employers actually trust their staff to do a professional job. This trust has now been destroyed on both sides and society as a whole is the loser. Previously people were innocent until proved guilty among their peers. Now staff have to prove their innocence every day by taking a mandatory alcohol breath test before driving and then having their every gesture, scratch and movement recorded on CCTV for later analysis. Welcome to Big Brother and on my coach today maybe up to 48 passengers at a time will have their images recorded because Big Brother thinks it knows best.
I agree with the use of cctv in order to capture the misdemeanours of our staff, although if truth be known they dont work on our coaches and havent for some time!!

Dont tell the other drivers!!!
Matthew - commenting as Phil - remember both Dean and Neil were sacked due to CCTV footage on our coaches last year.
That was last year Stephen, I said the cctv has not been working for some time!!!
Now I've noticed from recent customer complaints about you that you have been making announcements on the microphone whilst driving!!!
You have also been observed breathing whilst driving, strictly against company policy........
That is one of the other 2 Stephens down on the farm. I believe the CCTV is working on all our coaches. To prove this buy a bunch of grapes and display them in the cab...
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