Pavement Parking

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted on here but I was really keen to blog about pavement parking as it can be a big issue for many people and it’s a subject which we get lots of enquiries and complaints about. Pavement parking can cause real issues for a number of people, particularly pedestrians, pushchairs and wheelchair users as it often affects their ability to use and keep to the safety of the pavement.

If a vehicle is parked on a pavement and there are parking restrictions on the adjacent highway, then it is something which Civil Enforcement Officers like me can enforce and we can issue Penalty Charge Notices but this would be because the motorist is contravening the restrictions on the highway rather than because of the pavement parking itself. For example, in the photograph below, a vehicle is parked on a pavement adjacent to double yellow lines and as there isn’t any activity taking place which would permit stopping on double yellow lines (e.g. unloading/loading of goods, passengers getting in or out of the vehicle etc.) a Penalty Charge Notice can be issued.

PavementParking 2

If a vehicle is parked on a pavement and there aren’t any parking restrictions on the adjacent highway or if there is a significant obstruction being caused, then this would fall under the responsibilities of the Police who would consider whether this was ‘wilful obstruction of the public highway’, which is an offence. In such instances you can dial the non-emergency Police line 101 who will deal with such matters at their own discretion.

Whilst this post is about pavement parking, you may also find these other posts which I’ve done about parking on dropped kerbs and blocked access of interest too:

Dropped Kerbs and Blocked Access
Who would you report this to?
Access Restricted

I hope the above is helpful and as always, if you’re a motorist, please park safely, legally and considerately.

Parking staff now using body-worn cameras

NEPP CEO wearing body-worn camera

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted on here, but today I wanted to share some North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) news with you all.

Hopefully some of you will have already read/heard about this in the media today, but just in case you haven’t, starting from today all NEPP Civil Enforcement Officers, such as myself, will now be wearing body-worn cameras whilst on duty. The NEPP’s Committee decided to provide us with these body-worn cameras due to the number of violent and aggressive incidents which we’ve experienced whilst doing our jobs.

Previously, when an incident has taken place and it’s been reported to the Police, we’ve not always had the evidence for any action to be taken against the offenders, however, now the cameras will be activated when we feel we are at risk and the evidence they record can then be used by the Police and in Courts.

We’re all very pleased to have these cameras which will hopefully mean we experience fewer of these types of incidents and, if/when we do experience abuse, we will now be able to capture this and provide the Police and the Courts with the necessary evidence for them to take action.

We will not be using the cameras to gather evidence in relation to parking enforcement and they are solely being used to protect staff doing their job and enhance our wellbeing.

Myself and my colleagues have all undertaken training on how to use the cameras correctly over the last few weeks and all the information about our policies and FAQs etc. can all be found on the NEPP’s website at https://www.parkingpartnership.org/north_policies.asp.

To find out more about the introduction of the cameras, please click here.

Dropped Kerbs and Blocked Access

Thank you to everyone who took part in last week’s poll about who you’d report a car parked on a dropped kerb blocking access to. It was one of my most popular blog posts so far and the results were really interesting with a real mix of answers:

NEPP Poll results

There are actually two organisations which this type of incident could be reported to: the North Essex Parking Partnership and the Police.

If someone contacts the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) to say a vehicle is stopping them from accessing their driveway or property then we can issue a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) to the vehicle (but only if more than 50% of the vehicle is parked across the driveway) however we can’t remove the vehicle itself. If, when a CEO like myself attends, they find that the vehicle is parked appropriately and a resident can still access their property then no action will be taken.

This type of incident can also be reported to the Police (on their non-emergency number 101) as this is considered as obstruction and they can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice to the vehicle.

I hope you found this post useful and if you’re interested in finding out more or what to know about the difference between parking on a dropped kerb as opposed to a pavement, please read my post ‘Access Restricted’.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Abandoned Vehicles

At the weekend I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while and we got talking about work, as you do, and my friend mentioned that for weeks they have been driving past a van on their way to work which they think has probably been abandoned. My friend asked me who they needed to report this to and it got me thinking that this would be a good topic for this blog as experience tells me that many local people assume they should report abandoned vehicles to the North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP), however this isn’t the case.

In most instances, abandoned vehicles should be reported to the local borough or district council where the vehicle has been abandoned. Councils have the permission and are able to deal with abandoned vehicles, including finding owners, giving penalties and vehicle disposal. However, if an abandoned vehicle is on a road and in a dangerous position or condition, then this should be reported to the Police.

The only occasion when the NEPP would get involved in removing an abandoned vehicle would be if the vehicle had been left in a car park which it manages, in which case the NEPP would work with the relevant local borough or district council to deal with it.

If you ever wish to report an abandoned vehicle, you can do so online here.

Further information and guidance about abandoned vehicles is available on every local council’s website but you might also find the following links useful too:

Essex Police – ‘Who has responsibility for that?’ Leaflet

Central Government Guidance on Abandoned Vehicles and Councils Responsibilities

Commuter Complaints

Line of parked cars
This week, I thought I’d blog about one of the NEPP’s most common complaints – commuter parking.

We often receive complaints about how and where commuters park their vehicles whilst they’re at work all day as they’re sometimes restricting property access, causing congestion and in some cases a danger too. If the vehicles are parked dangerously, causing an obstruction or on pavements, then this would be a Police issue. If the vehicle is parked on a dropped kerb or in contravention of a parking restriction, the NEPP can carry out enforcement action. However if there aren’t any parking restrictions and there aren’t any other parking contraventions taking place, we’re unable to take any action.

If residents of businesses in north Essex believe that having a parking or waiting restriction in place may address this (or any other local parking problem) requests for these should be made to the NEPP. Anyone wanting parking or waiting restrictions needs to complete Stage 1 of the NewTRO Requests Form and demonstrate there is local support, including from the local Ward Councillor. Once completed, the request should be emailed to techteam@colchester.gov.uk for it to be reviewed and scored based on key factors including the level of local support, potential benefits and impacts. The request and the scoring will then be referred to the Partnership’s Committee to prioritise and decide whether it will be progressed. The NEPP does receive a lot of requests and with limited budget available it needs to focus on progressing the schemes considered to be a high priority. For all the necessary steps to be completed, the entire process can take up to 24 months.

For more information please visit our website at www.parkingpartnership.org

Police Accreditation

Police Community Safety Scheme Accreditation Logo
This week I thought I’d take a break from writing about specific parking matters and tell you a bit more about my role as a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) with the NEPP.

Last autumn, the NEPP offered its enforcement staff the opportunity to become Police Accredited under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS). This is a voluntary scheme under which Police Chief Constables can choose to accredit people employed in roles which involve maintaining and improving community safety e.g. park and neighbourhood wardens. Once they’re accredited these staff have additional but specific powers to help them in their community roles (so in my case, powers which specifically relate to my role in parking).

Some of my colleagues and I took this offer up and have now been through the vetting process, done the training and passed the assessments. Once we’ve been presented with our Essex Police Accreditation identification badges and armbands we’ll be able to use the additional powers we’ve been given to increase community safety and help reduce crime and disorder.

As a parking CEO, examples of the types of powers and circumstances under which I can use them include:

  • being able to control traffic for purposes other than escorting a load of exceptional dimensions and to direct traffic for the purposes of escorting abnormal loads
  • being given a name and address following violent and aggressive behaviour from customers
  • issuing a fixed penalty notice for littering when a Penalty Charge Notice has been thrown on the floor by a customer

I’ve really enjoyed the training and work involved in becoming Police Accredited and like knowing that  once I’ve been issued with my national accreditation badge I’ll be able to make even more of a difference in helping to keep our roads safe and free from congestion – after all that’s what being a CEO is all about.

Hot Dog? No thank you!

Labrador dog

It was great being out patrolling in the lovely warm weather last week, however sometimes we can come across incidents such as dogs left in parked cars during these extreme temperatures. When we come across this issue, we would take the necessary details and report it to either the RSPCA or the Police (depending on how urgent we believe the situation to be) for them to investigate and take action if necessary.

If you come across a dog which appears to have been left in a vehicle during hot weather, please report this to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 and give them details about the condition of the dog, the registration number and where the car is. The RSPCA should then send an inspector or warden to deal with the situation if they can and if they think they need to break into the car, they will call the Police. Some dog warden services may also be able to help in these circumstances. However, if the situation is extremely urgent and it’s getting close to a life or death situation for the dog, you should call the Police using 999 straight away.

Both the RSPCA and the Police, have information and guidance on what to do when anyone comes across an animal which appears to have been left in a car during hot weather and these can be accessed using the links below:

http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars

http://www.suffolk.police.uk/contactus/faqs/results.aspx?question=21

With more hot weather forecast for the rest of this week, please bear this in mind and if you are a dog owner, please don’t leave your dog alone in a car in warm temperatures.