Parking tensions in Weston-super-Mare rise with officers needing police help

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 June 2017 | UPDATED: 07:07 09 June 2017

Parking rules in the town centre have been criticised.

Parking rules in the town centre have been criticised.

Archant

Parking tensions have continued to escalate in Weston-super-Mare this week, with enforcement officers subjected to abusive behaviour on the streets and social media.

Allan Taylor - Parking Services / Civil Enforcement Manager.Allan Taylor - Parking Services / Civil Enforcement Manager.

North Somerset Council says its parking officers have been targeted by ‘repeated abusive behaviour’ since the local authority implemented civil parking enforcement (CPE) in April, taking control of parking regulations from the police.

One enforcement officer had to call 999 for assistance after being threatened on the streets of Weston, while some online comments indicated people were trying to find where officers live and ‘pay them a visit in the night’.

Last month, the Mercury reported council staff had been on the receiving end of ‘unacceptable comments’ online, and this shows no sign of relenting with officers facing abuse while on patrol.

Parking services manager at the council Allan Taylor acknowledges people may be upset if they receive a parking ticket, but condemned the ‘violent’ behaviour which ‘officers have to tolerate on an almost daily basis’.

He said: “In the last week one of my team was just walking along the street at lunchtime and was threatened to the point where he needed to call 999 for assistance.

“As well as that, increasing numbers of violent comments are being made against the officers on Facebook – including suggesting finding out where they live and paying them a visit in the night.

“This behaviour is a disgrace and has to stop. If anyone has an issue with the way that a parking offence has been handled, or with any of my team, they should make a formal complaint via the proper channels.

“We will not respond to violent, aggressive or threatening behaviour.”

Town centre police sergeant Mark Jenkinson said the police will not tolerate threatening behaviour.

He added: “We are working closely with colleagues from the council to investigate incidents of both verbal and physical abuse towards their staff.

“We have also incorporated a regular police presence to support the parking wardens into our patrols plans.

“Being abusive, threatening or violent towards parking wardens is not acceptable and could potentially mean you end up with more than a parking fine.”


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