Holiday over for another year...
Those CCTV mobile spy vans may be Smart cars, but you have to question whether any of it has rubbed off on those responsible for them.
I have kept away from the rows about the cars because I think they are a necessary evil in Medway. Far too many people think a few seconds on the double yellow lines to drop off a letter, pick up a pupil from school, ask directions or greet a friend is perfectly all right. It isn't.
Equally as many believe the only reason for the CCTV cars is to provide the council with a ready-made source of additional cash.
It might be - but it wouldn't be the million pound earner that it is if there was not so much flaunting of the law by drivers.
Having said that, there is a clear lack of customer training for staff and a failure to crack down on the numerous abuses which they inflict.
I know one woman booked by the cars. A reasonable lady, she shrugged, accepted the penalty and got on with her life. Yet she apparently got a lot of abuse when there was a problem passing the CCTV car in the street.
The warden who recently accused a local resident armed with his own CCTV camera of harassment when they dared to turn it on him didn't know one vital bit of law: anyone can take photographs or film in the street, despite what some individual police officers may think in the wake of the anti-terrorism rules. Kent Police recently issued some simple guidelines to its own officers. One says: "The media do not need a permit to photograph or film in public places."
It also says: "In normal circumstances we have no legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what they record....Once images are recorded we have no power to delete or confiscate them without a court order, even if we think they contain damaging or useful evidence."
The public has exactly the same rights and powers as the press. No more. No less. Given the rapidly improving quality of mobile phone cameras, we will all have to get used to being filmed.
After all, the CCTV car wardens and the 500 CCTV cameras in Medway and Swale monitored by their colleagues in Strood are operating under exactly the same rights and powers. It's just that members of the public are more visible than people sitting in a bunker in Strood, or behind a Smart car windscreen.
(In case anyone thinks I might have a personal axe to grind, I don't. On the other hand, I was booked by one of the ground patrols yesterday while interviewing delighted students who have just completed their education in Medway...)