Zero tolerance to parking officer abuse
The zero tolerance approach to threatening and aggressive behaviour against parking officers in Weston-super-Mare has been reinforced by North Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset Police.
This follows two incidents in the past week where officers have been physically assaulted, resulting in hospital treatment.
“Our officers are there to make sure drivers park legally and responsibly in the town centre,” said Cllr Mark Canniford, the council’s executive member responsible for parking strategy. “Being issued with a ticket for illegal parking is never an excuse to abuse our officers. Abusing someone, either physically or verbally, for simply doing their job is completely unacceptable.
“If anyone has an issue with the way a parking offence has been handled, or with any of the parking team, they should make a formal complaint via the proper channels. We will not tolerate aggression, intimidation or harassment of any of our employees. All incidents have been, and will continue to be, reported to the police.”
The parking officers wear bodycams which are used to help resolve disputes and identify perpetrators of assaults.
Sgt Lee Kerslake, Weston town centre and urban neighbourhood policing team sergeant, said: “We won’t tolerate threatening behaviour and we are working closely with colleagues from North Somerset Council to investigate these latest incidents of abuse towards their staff. We have also incorporated a regular police presence to support the parking wardens into our patrols plans.
“People do need to appreciate that if they are issued with a ticket, the parking wardens are just doing their job. While I can appreciate the frustration people feel with themselves, I would suggest that they need to ensure they are adhering to the relevant parking restrictions and conditions to prevent this from happening in the first place.
“If you feel genuinely aggrieved, there is an official complaints procedure in place whereby the public can raise any issues or concerns in a constructive manner. However, being abusive, threatening or violent towards parking wardens is not acceptable and could potentially mean you end up with more than just a parking fine!”
An online appeal process is in place for anyone who believes they have been issued a penalty charge notice incorrectly. Visit www.n-somerset.gov.uk/cpe for more details or follow the information on the back of the fine notice.