A lot of our members are having tickets issued by council enforcement officers. Some of these tickets really should not be issued. The power of Metropolitan Police Traffic Wardens in uniform to allow extra time or tell a vehicle to move was not transferred to council enforcement officers when councils took over borough parking. A statement by the Council’s Enforcement Team is shown here:-
There is no specific power such as you described conveyed to Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) under the Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) legislation, the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) however, there is statutory operational guidance that enforcement authorities must have due regard for and as such this Council works to the following principles in regards to the process of issuing or not a PCN;
Grace period: This is an unofficial period of time where a vehicle committing a contravention will not receive a PCN. This should not be confused with an observation period and is generally where a CEO first sights a potential parking contravention and examines the prevailing traffic and parking control measures and the type of enforcement action that is most appropriate in the circumstances. This period could be where a customer seeks the advice of the CEO and receives an appropriate response, such as the contravention type is immediate and unless the contravening vehicle is moved immediately then a PCN will be issued or that an observation will commence soon and until such time as that does commence the vehicle will not be issued with a PCN but no further “warning” will be issued by the CEO. The CEO would normally move from this grace period to a casual observation period.
Observation period: An observation period is an amount of time during which a vehicle is monitored by a CEO to ensure that it is complying with the appropriate restrictions. Observation periods are normally split into two types; casual and constant. Casual observation takes place when a CEO notes the times when a vehicle has been observed but does not speciﬁcally monitor the vehicle. Constant observation takes place when a CEO remains at the location and monitors the vehicle for a speciﬁed period to establish whether a contravention is occurring. The specified period varies and is dependent upon location and other circumstances that may necessitate a more expedient observation time in order to ameliorate a parking situation that is causing significant inconvenience or danger. Such a variance is decided upon by the CEO.
Discretion: Ordinarily, discretion is applied in the back office following the issuing of a PCN, however, in limited circumstances if a vehicle is parked in contravention, but there would appear to be mitigating circumstances for the vehicle being at that location, then a CEO would afford a degree operational discretion in issuing a PCN if they believe it applicable but they will ordinarily continue with observations to ensure that the event is logged and to equally ensure that should an enquiry be received upon the level of discretion then the CEOs would be able to justify his/her actions. It is important that at all times the integrity of CEO actions are above any allegation of inappropriate actions. The above is what the Council would ordinarily seek to achieve but there will be circumstances where the above is not applied and whilst not ideal it is considered that if a CEO decides to depart from the above then there will be good reason for doing so. It should also be noted that doing so will not be a breach of legislation. Any questions can be answered by a Parking Enforcement Administrator. On 01708 432787.