The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) has appealed to motorists to behave and park responsibly to avoid getting a parking ticket (PCN).
Following recent reports of aggression directed towards its civil enforcement officers (CEOs), NEPP has changed its penalty issuing policy to ensure safer deployment of frontline staff who are working to keep the county’s roads and car parks clear of illegally parked vehicles.
At the height of the lockdown, NEPP’s enforcement officers focused their efforts on emergency routes and zones while relaxing patrols in some areas to meet changing needs. As Government restrictions have gradually eased and more parking patrols have resumed, officers have reported hostility from a confrontational element of motorists caught breaking parking rules. Some CEOs have faced a torrent of abuse and worse, whilst carrying out their key duties. Enabling the use of postal PCNs, issued away from the vehicle if necessary, has helped reduce some of the risks posed to NEPP’s hard-working frontline officers.
Councillor Robert Mitchell, Chairman of the North Essex Parking Partnership, said: “As an organisation, we take any form of verbal or physical abuse against our staff very seriously. The role of enforcement officers can be very challenging at the best of times and for them to face hostility or aggression when trying to ensure safe access for emergency vehicles and other essential services is totally unacceptable.
“There is nothing to be gained from arguing with the messenger. Please follow officers’ advice and, if necessary, record the details on any PCN that you feel was issued in error. Challenging a parking ticket is an evidence-based process, so it is important you gather and provide evidence to support an appeal, not resort to rage against our officers that may be recorded on body-worn cameras and will also be used in evidence. Once issued, the PCN will stand, so the best course of action is to accept the situation, move on, and either pay or challenge the fine. There is no advantage in arguing with the officer.
“I would simply ask everyone to keep calm and be reasonable. There are no excuses for careless or inconsiderate parking, and we are asking all motorists to park responsibly and considerately. The number-one priority is to maintain access for essential services, for the benefit of all.”
NEPP is an active supporter of the British Parking Association’s Halt the Hate campaign aimed at tackling hate crime against Civil Enforcement Officers. Where evidence is captured by body-worn cameras or other means, it will be used to fully support the police to bring an appropriate resolution through the courts if necessary.