Clamper Clout accuses cops

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2013
Daniel Clout
ROBERT CHARLES/Fairfax NZ
MAKING IT OFFICIAL: New Plymouth wheel clamper Daniel Clout prepares to mail 17 individual complaints to the Independent Police Conduct Authority yesterday making allegations against the New Plymouth police.

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Wheel clamper Daniel Clout claims police are making it impossible for him to do his job and he has complained to their watchdog.

His complaint to the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) includes transcripts from extraordinary video footage of clashes with motorists, police and a discussion with area commander Inspector Blair Telford.

Mr Clout said he had posted the 17 individual complaints to the IPCA yesterday and hoped to meet with the authority so he could provide them with the extensive video footage he has compiled.

He openly wore the small digital cameras attached to his clothing as he carried out his job.

Mr Clout has regularly been in the headlines for his zealous enforcement of parking rules in several of the city's private car parks which he patrols as the operator of Egmont Security.

Late last year he angered police by clamping one of their unmarked cars, and refused to remove the clamps until he was paid.

Subsequently, he was told in a letter from Mr Telford he could be liable for prosecution for working without a licence.

Mr Telford wrote that he was putting Mr Clout on formal notice that if he continued to conduct his "property guard activities" without either a licence or a certificate of approval, he was likely to be committing an offence and could be prosecuted.

Mr Telford said yesterday if Mr Clout was dissatisfied, the authority was the correct body to raise his concerns.

"Until I am able to view what his complaint is, I unable address it," he said.

Mr Clout complained, unsuccessfully, to the IPCA before, in October.

In his latest complaint he says his problems with police started 18 months ago and followed an incident when he clamped a car driven by a family member of police staff.

The police stance that his work was unauthorised was publicised late last year and he says he has been subjected to an increasing number of attacks from members of the public since then.

He claims police had been undermining his authority by telling people he was acting unlawfully, didn't hold the required licence to do the job and that they could cut his clamps off.

The videos supporting his complaints that he intends to supply to the IPCA include one in which he discussed the clamping of the unmarked police car with Mr Telford.

Mr Telford raised concerns at the clamping of a police car with Mr Clout's lawyer, Kylie Pascoe, at the time.

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In the video he expresses concern at the potential problems his staff could encounter if they can't use their cars.

Other video Mr Clout recorded appears to show a police officer suggesting at the scene that Mr Clout knew he was clamping a police car.

Ms Pascoe said it had become apparent there was an issue over whether her client's work was covered by the Private Security Personnel and Private Investigators Act.

"I would have thought it not only fair and prudent, but necessary, for the police to determine the issue through the proper channels such as a declaratory judgment through the court, before challenging Mr Clout by making reference to prosecution and advising the New Plymouth public that he is acting unlawfully before the lawful position is actually determined," she said.

Other footage, shown by Mr Clout to the Taranaki Daily News, appears to show police were present when a man smashed his clamps with a wheelbrace.

In another case, a woman attacks him with a handbag and spits on him in his car.

Mr Clout, who has hours of recordings of his work, says he started filming encounters with police and the public using up to three video cameras as "protection".

"I realised that I had to get everything on video.

"Just walking around the car park doing and checking chalk marks can be dangerous."

Of his work, he says everyone he clamps has got an excuse and nobody wants to pay.

- Taranaki Daily News

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