Campaigners call for cameras to stop car racers speeding through Wapping

Stephen O’Shea... presented petition to Tower Hamlets Council for speed cameras in Wapping. Picture:

Stephen OShea... presented petition to Tower Hamlets Council for speed cameras in Wapping. Picture: Mike Brooke - Credit: Mike Brooke

Hundreds of fed-up families have petitioned Tower Hamlets Council to get cameras installed to stop night-time car racers speeding through the narrow streets of Wapping.

The police are “powerless to stop it” because of shortage of resources, so they are calling for automatic cameras instead to deter racers using their neighbourhood for dangerous “speed track” driving.

The 700-name petition presented to Wednesday’s council meeting by healthcare worker Stephen O’Shea.

“Cars racing through Wapping at night occasionally hit bollards or parked cars,” he told councillors. “The police and the council appear powerless to fight it.

“We’ve had public meetings when we were told no action would be taken unless someone was seriously injured or killed.”

The Mayor was looking at ways to ‘design out’ speeding with a new road layout, councillors were told. The authority had no power to install traffic cameras, which were managed by TfL and the Met Police.

There was also a criteria of a minimum of four people killed or seriously injured in a three-year period before they can be installed, the meeting heard.

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Mayor John Biggs said: “I have argued for many years that the law should be changed. But we will keep working to take out unnecessary traffic to make Wapping a little safer.”

The families want speed cameras rather than monitored CCTV which they felt would be a civil liberty issue.

Mr O’Shea assured the East London Advertiser: “We’re not calling for ‘spy’ cameras. We’re totally against the ‘Big Brother’ nanny state.

“But we need automated cameras that don’t need the police to monitor CCTV. It’s to protect people.”

The campaigners supported a new road lay-out to make it “less viable as a race track”, but accepted that it might affect the 100 bus service. Speed cameras are seen as “an immediate solution” to make the cobbled streets of Wapping safer.