There have been a number of issues raised over parking recently. Please can I ask that this article features in your parish magazines and/or your parish websites to advise your communities of my view of parking problems and advise your parishioners of this initiative that is starting from now?
I know some of you have written to Essex police chief officers with concerns about people parking their vehicles on the pavement and verges, so I would like to clear up some of the concerns about the law and also explain why we are now asking communities to take the lead in reducing incidents of parking on verges and pavements.
Local UDC parking attendants have no power to deal with cases of obstruction.
PCSO legal powers are set out in the Police Reform Act 2002 and comprise of ‘standard’ and ‘discretionary powers’. Neither of these sets of powers allow for PCSOs to deal with issues of obstruction nor is it currently possible for any Chief Constable to grant these powers.
There are powers that Police can use in relation to unnecessary or wilful obstruction and these have been and will continue to be used regularly where appropriate throughout the County.
Turning to the broader issue of parking on pavements there is currently no national legislation banning parking of all vehicles on the pavement, due to the wide range of circumstances and locations where pavement parking occurs.
The matter has been discussed at some of the Neighbourhood Action Panels and even at the District Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership in Uttlesford where I have asked for a ‘community solution’ to be found.
Clearly it is for police to lead on, so we have set up an initiative to deal with this issue which will occur in several stages.
1. Neighbourhood Teams are mapping where the problems are and we are responding to obvious and overt breaches of the law by knocking on doors and asking for vehicles to be moved. If they are not or we feel the circumstances dictate then we will issue them with Fixed Penalty Notices.
2. A media strategy has been developed (of which this part) so we can widely advise the community of this activity, help them to comply with the law and, hopefully, avoid a fine and the wrath of their neighbours.
3. A leaflet is being developed which will encapsulate the views of all of the agencies this affects e.g. the fire service have already done some work to ease access to roads that are congested and may obstruct their fire engines.
4. Following all of that there will be a period of enforcement where any vehicle deemed to be causing an obstruction will attract a Fixed Penalty Notice. If a vehicle is found to still be in contravention of the law then we will seek to prosecute the offender through the courts where, in some circumstances, we will apply for the confiscation of the vehicle.
Please look at where you are parking your vehicle. Does it inhibit movement along the footway? Might a visually impaired pedestrian injure themselves on it? Can a fire engine get through? Is it necessary to park it there?
If your vehicle is parked so that it is possibly causing an obstruction please move it somewhere else!
I hope there will be no need for phase 4.
If you would like to make your Neighbourhood Team aware of any problem of obstruction then please contact the Saffron Walden Neighbourhood on 07779 037084; the Thaxted and Newport Neighbourhood on 07779 085615; the Clavering Neighbourhood on 07837 384455; the Great Dunmow Neighbourhood on 07989 174801; the Felsted and Stebbing Neighbourhood on 07779 085616; The Hatfield Heath Neighbourhood on 07779 316979; the Stansted North Neighbourhood on 07801 461666. If you are unsure which neighbourhood you fall under then please go to www.essex.police.uk/my_neighbourhood and enter your postcode.
Thank you for your help with this initiative.
Uttlesford District Commander