Tesco fine could lead to child safeguarding issue


Would you like Tesco staff taking photographs of your child?

Observations by Cath Regan 

Tesco have recently announced that they are introducing a scheme to stop motorists from parking in disabled bays at their stores.

Shoppers who park in bays meant for the disabled and parents with young children could face fines of up to £70 under a crackdown by Tesco.

The supermarket chain has stated that it has armed staff at 81 of its stores with a special smartphone app to record evidence.

The scheme will be rolled out to 200 more locations over the next few weeks in Tesco’s first ever enforcement action against drivers who break the rules.

Staff will use the app to take pictures of vehicles parked in disabled bays without Blue Badges or hogging the spaces set aside for parents with children under 12.

Now to some this may be a great opportunity to ensure drivers in the wrong spaces get their just deserts. However, as a parent myself and Safeguarding Person for my nursery, the scheme is very frightening and worrying. Parents need to be aware and this is why…

Tesco are seemingly arming staff members with an internet device to photograph parents using their parking bays. Do these staff members have current DBS and background checks?

What policy/procedures have Tesco management put into place in order that these photographs will not be downloaded for other purposes?

What policy/procedures have Tesco management put into place to safeguard their staff members being accused of taking unlawful pictures of children?

Is it specific phones that Tesco are buying for their staff members, or are they allowing them to use their own personal mobile phones for this purpose? The thought is frightening if the latter.

It seems they are intending to photograph parents using the bays with children over 12 years of age. Does that mean if we shop at Tesco we have to prove our child’s age before we park at these bays?

Another point is that sometimes older children may have a hidden disability such as Asperger’s Syndrome or other. For the safety of other cars it may be beneficial to be able to park in a wider bay sometimes, in order that the child does not open the car door repeatedly and hit the adjacent car. So are they being discriminated against? Trying to handle a child having an ASD meltdown in a narrow car parking space is not easy.

The evidence is going to be apparently sent to a company called Horizon Parking, which obtains driver details from the DVLA and issues a £40 penalty notice, rising to £70 unless it is paid within 14 days. Are the photographs taken by Tesco staff sent in a confidential way to Horizon Parking and do they hold DBS checks on their staff?

I do fully understand the annoyance of people misusing these bays, however I think the solution Tesco have come up with is dangerous. If I was to see an alleged Tesco staff member taking a photograph of my child, I would be extremely angry and refuse to let them have it on any mobile device.

I seriously think that Tesco should just concentrate on enforcing their scheme on Disabled Parking Bays and forget the parent ones.

Cath Regan ©



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