Who would be a Southend traffic warden?

Southend Standard: Barny Gazey shows how he issues a ticket to our reporter Barny Gazey shows how he issues a ticket to our reporter

SOME drivers believe traffic wardens are killjoys who set out to fine as many motorists as possible. And it is true they have a job to do.

That job often involves incurring the wrath of motorists who really don’t want to pay out a fine, even though they may have parked in the wrong place or overstayed without paying.

So who would want to be a traffic warden? It’s surely a thankless task where confrontation is constantly on the horizon.

I spent a morning in the company of a traffic warden or civil enforcement officer as they are officially known, It proved to me a real eye-opener.

I expected them to be tough and uncompromsing. I was mistaken.

Senior civil enforcement officer Barny Gazey, 40, was my guide for the morning, taking me around Southend town centre on part of the beat he patrols for seven-and-a-half hours a day.

Within minutes we came across a lorry parked on a double-yellow line in Ashburnham Road. And we could see another parked blocking the entire road a little further down.

Two tickets to be banded out straight away, I assumed.

But a polite but firm word from Barny, who asked asked the drivers how long they were going to be there, and they were soon on their way.

A little further down the road, a car was parked in a residents’ only bay with a visitors permit dated from the day before.

“We’ve got a waiting time, this one is five minutes,” Barny explained. ”If there’s an alternative for me to not issue a ticket then I won’t issue one. If the driver comes back within five minutes of waiting I’m happy to cancel it, but if they came back after the time is up the only people that have the power to cancel it are Southend Council.”

And he does speak to a resident in the street to ask them if they know who the owner is, to no avail.

However, the owner of the car – a tradesman doing some work in a nearby house – came out moments after his time was up. He was upset, but polite and accepting of the ticket.

In just over an hour, Barny issued two tickets but gave advice to many more people. The number of men and women who approached us to pleasantly ask where to park, for help with machines and if other people were breaking the law was a surprise.

“We’re here to help the traffic flow,” Barny explained. “If people don’t park in any contraventions then they won’t get a ticket and in most places if they move on within the right time they won’t get one either.”

Indeed, our mere presence was enough for many people to stop parking badly – which is the whole point after all. In London Road we spotted a Jaguar parked in a loading bay. After looking at the vehicle to check it didn’t have any exemption badges and wasn’t broken down, Barny began to make his notes in preparation for issuing a ticket.

“I can’t issue this one because the signage is incorrect. There used to be a sign here but it’s gone,” he said.

But moments later, the offending motorist came out of a building he’d been in and ran into the Jaguar, getting it away as quickly as he could.

ATTACKS and abuse is a huge risk for traffic wardens. In the past two years, there have been 40 assaults on staff as they carry out their jobs.

But they resolutely carry out their duties.

Barny Gazey said: “I’ve been in the job for three and a half years but it has definitely got worse recently in terms of being attacked.

“I don’t know if it’s the economic climate, people might be more worried about their money and the like.

“If you let everybody park where they wanted to park no one would get anywhere and we’re here to make sure the traffic is moving. If not we wouldn’t be doing our job.”

As for the persistent beliefs that they have targets for the number of tickets issued and try to catch as many people as possible? All myths, they say.

“If we had to have targets you would just see a sea of yellow everywhere,” Barny said. “People try to justify their own mistakes, we can only ever issue a ticket if someone is in contravention.

“Everybody has got a camera phone these days it’s not worth acting incorrectly because someone will be filming it.

“A good day for me is if all my interactions with members of the public have been good ones. It’s not about how many tickets I’ve issued.”

Apcoa, formerly Central Parking System, hasbeen upholding Southend Council’s parking restrictions for 13 years.

In the last two years they have issued 87,687 tickets. In the same period there have been 40 assaults on their officers.

Dale Barraclough, deputy contract manager, said: “The biggest concern we have is the amount of abuse our colleagues have to put up with.

“In terms of tickets, that’s not really something we ask them about when they come in from a day’s work.

“We measure that they are safe and measure 100 per cent that they can get round their area to ensure local shops and residents can see our officers on patrol.

“We patrol city areas, town centre areas, areas where we’re asked to respond to concerns from residents and businesses who’ve spoken to Southend Council.”

Comments (20)

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12:13pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Kim Gandy says...

I don't give them the chance. No Christmas shopping in the town centre for me unless it's where I live, Rayleigh. I only have to walk a few yards... or the internet.

Can't be doing with shopping trips any more. Too much hassle and pressure, with every loony out on the road from dawn to dusk. Stuff that for a game of soldiers.
I don't give them the chance. No Christmas shopping in the town centre for me unless it's where I live, Rayleigh. I only have to walk a few yards... or the internet. Can't be doing with shopping trips any more. Too much hassle and pressure, with every loony out on the road from dawn to dusk. Stuff that for a game of soldiers. Kim Gandy

12:45pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Southend Andy says...

If drivers can't be bothered to park in a safe & legal manor then they deserve to get a ticket
If drivers can't be bothered to park in a safe & legal manor then they deserve to get a ticket Southend Andy

12:51pm Tue 10 Dec 13

emcee says...

Southend Andy wrote:
If drivers can't be bothered to park in a safe & legal manor then they deserve to get a ticket
Often this can be difficult as more and more "safe & legal" spaces are taken away and more and more cars are on the roads needing a diminishing number of spaces.
[quote][p][bold]Southend Andy[/bold] wrote: If drivers can't be bothered to park in a safe & legal manor then they deserve to get a ticket[/p][/quote]Often this can be difficult as more and more "safe & legal" spaces are taken away and more and more cars are on the roads needing a diminishing number of spaces. emcee

1:00pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Bester says...

A sympathetic, pro-warden story on the Echo? I never thought I would see the day! I'm now waiting for a positive story about the camera cars.
A sympathetic, pro-warden story on the Echo? I never thought I would see the day! I'm now waiting for a positive story about the camera cars. Bester

1:37pm Tue 10 Dec 13

j-w says...

Slightly off topic, Echo why is your Traffic all about Kent? I bet its a case of "show traffic news for 15 miles" in the programming but most people in Essex probably don't care that the High Street strood is down to one lane!
Slightly off topic, Echo why is your Traffic all about Kent? I bet its a case of "show traffic news for 15 miles" in the programming but most people in Essex probably don't care that the High Street strood is down to one lane! j-w

1:51pm Tue 10 Dec 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

"I can’t issue this one because the signage is incorrect. There used to be a sign here but it’s gone,” he said.
But moments later, the offending motorist came out of a building he’d been in and ran into the Jaguar, getting it away as quickly as he could.

"

so there you have it...if the signs somehow fell off in the high winds and blown away over night you are free to park where you like....even if the loading bay said 'Loading' in white paint on the tarmac.
And whats more they should have told the Jaguar driver not to panic as the signage was missing...could have given him a heart attack or caused an accident rushing away, if the tickets not on the screen/handed to the driver with photo proof(on screen) it could be void.
But its easy to avoid...don't park where you are not mean't too and above all be polite and calm accept defeat...after all its only a £30 fine, learn from it.
"I can’t issue this one because the signage is incorrect. There used to be a sign here but it’s gone,” he said. But moments later, the offending motorist came out of a building he’d been in and ran into the Jaguar, getting it away as quickly as he could. " so there you have it...if the signs somehow fell off in the high winds and blown away over night you are free to park where you like....even if the loading bay said 'Loading' in white paint on the tarmac. And whats more they should have told the Jaguar driver not to panic as the signage was missing...could have given him a heart attack or caused an accident rushing away, if the tickets not on the screen/handed to the driver with photo proof(on screen) it could be void. But its easy to avoid...don't park where you are not mean't too and above all be polite and calm accept defeat...after all its only a £30 fine, learn from it. DogsMessInLeigh

2:29pm Tue 10 Dec 13

costa-del-blowfly says...

emcee wrote:
Southend Andy wrote:
If drivers can't be bothered to park in a safe & legal manor then they deserve to get a ticket
Often this can be difficult as more and more "safe & legal" spaces are taken away and more and more cars are on the roads needing a diminishing number of spaces.
Take that up with your local council. Just because there may not be any parking spaces that you feel are convenient for you, doesn't mean that there is suddenly the freedom to park where you choose.
[quote][p][bold]emcee[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Southend Andy[/bold] wrote: If drivers can't be bothered to park in a safe & legal manor then they deserve to get a ticket[/p][/quote]Often this can be difficult as more and more "safe & legal" spaces are taken away and more and more cars are on the roads needing a diminishing number of spaces.[/p][/quote]Take that up with your local council. Just because there may not be any parking spaces that you feel are convenient for you, doesn't mean that there is suddenly the freedom to park where you choose. costa-del-blowfly

4:37pm Tue 10 Dec 13

andy:) says...

Bester wrote:
A sympathetic, pro-warden story on the Echo? I never thought I would see the day! I'm now waiting for a positive story about the camera cars.
But this story shows the difference between the two, the warden in this story can ask people to move or give them a few minutes grace or use common sense.

The CCTV car just zooms past issuing tickets instantly using none of the common sense that the warden showed. This is why there are guidelines for their use but Southend Council appears to ignore them, its will known that parking is a great money earner for councils, something I'm not that bothered about as at least it help keep council tax down.
[quote][p][bold]Bester[/bold] wrote: A sympathetic, pro-warden story on the Echo? I never thought I would see the day! I'm now waiting for a positive story about the camera cars.[/p][/quote]But this story shows the difference between the two, the warden in this story can ask people to move or give them a few minutes grace or use common sense. The CCTV car just zooms past issuing tickets instantly using none of the common sense that the warden showed. This is why there are guidelines for their use but Southend Council appears to ignore them, its will known that parking is a great money earner for councils, something I'm not that bothered about as at least it help keep council tax down. andy:)

5:01pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Rochford Richard says...

Is the Echo becoming a propaganda tool for Southend Council?
Is the Echo becoming a propaganda tool for Southend Council? Rochford Richard

5:11pm Tue 10 Dec 13

returnoftheleftie says...

Rochford Richard wrote:
Is the Echo becoming a propaganda tool for Southend Council?
Becoming?

If people park illegally, then they should be fined where appropriate, but by a traffic warden operating in the same manner as the article- a few minutes grace, asking people to move first. The automatic ticket machine of doom should be consigned to the scrap heap, unless they restrict it to use on double yellows outside schools at pick-up/drop-off, where there should be no mercy for anyone.
[quote][p][bold]Rochford Richard[/bold] wrote: Is the Echo becoming a propaganda tool for Southend Council?[/p][/quote]Becoming? If people park illegally, then they should be fined where appropriate, but by a traffic warden operating in the same manner as the article- a few minutes grace, asking people to move first. The automatic ticket machine of doom should be consigned to the scrap heap, unless they restrict it to use on double yellows outside schools at pick-up/drop-off, where there should be no mercy for anyone. returnoftheleftie

5:16pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Britanniaman says...

Is this true as they are a private company and contracted by the council we do not have to pay the fine as we don't have a contract with the company ? i see this on youtube take a look.

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=6fV34fF7T
Ps
Is this true as they are a private company and contracted by the council we do not have to pay the fine as we don't have a contract with the company ? i see this on youtube take a look. http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=6fV34fF7T Ps Britanniaman

5:26pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Britanniaman says...

the youtube footage is Southend traffic wardens
the youtube footage is Southend traffic wardens Britanniaman

6:27pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Steve H says...

I remember LBS....
I remember LBS.... Steve H

6:52pm Tue 10 Dec 13

Joe Clark says...

If you park illegally then yes you MUST get a ticket it makes no difference if that ticket is issued by a warden on foot or the CCTV Car you are still parked illegally, if you can't find a space that does not give you the right to leave your car wherever you want, it really is as simple as that.
If you park illegally then yes you MUST get a ticket it makes no difference if that ticket is issued by a warden on foot or the CCTV Car you are still parked illegally, if you can't find a space that does not give you the right to leave your car wherever you want, it really is as simple as that. Joe Clark

11:12pm Tue 10 Dec 13

costa-del-blowfly says...

returnoftheleftie wrote:
Rochford Richard wrote:
Is the Echo becoming a propaganda tool for Southend Council?
Becoming?

If people park illegally, then they should be fined where appropriate, but by a traffic warden operating in the same manner as the article- a few minutes grace, asking people to move first. The automatic ticket machine of doom should be consigned to the scrap heap, unless they restrict it to use on double yellows outside schools at pick-up/drop-off, where there should be no mercy for anyone.
Allowing 'grace' is allowing for wide interpretation of the law. Can you tell me how that could be policed, let alone stand up against legal rigour.
[quote][p][bold]returnoftheleftie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rochford Richard[/bold] wrote: Is the Echo becoming a propaganda tool for Southend Council?[/p][/quote]Becoming? If people park illegally, then they should be fined where appropriate, but by a traffic warden operating in the same manner as the article- a few minutes grace, asking people to move first. The automatic ticket machine of doom should be consigned to the scrap heap, unless they restrict it to use on double yellows outside schools at pick-up/drop-off, where there should be no mercy for anyone.[/p][/quote]Allowing 'grace' is allowing for wide interpretation of the law. Can you tell me how that could be policed, let alone stand up against legal rigour. costa-del-blowfly

2:13am Wed 11 Dec 13

pendulum says...

So even when the warden is on best behaviour because the Echo's there, an innocent tradesman still gets screwed over on a technicality for a victimless bureaucratic paperwork "offence."

And two tickets in an hour? Think he'd be out of a job if he kept that up... obviously his bosses would've told him to go easy what with the paper being there...
So even when the warden is on best behaviour because the Echo's there, an innocent tradesman still gets screwed over on a technicality for a victimless bureaucratic paperwork "offence." And two tickets in an hour? Think he'd be out of a job if he kept that up... obviously his bosses would've told him to go easy what with the paper being there... pendulum

11:19am Wed 11 Dec 13

Shoeburygem says...

Things must have changed since i was a, ''parking attendant''. We were expected to bring back at least eight tickets per day, and we was not allowed to ask the public to move or give them grace.

Reality is that if you contravene the highway code, then you are issued with a penalty notice, simple rule don't obstruct, park on double yellows or a loading bay, or a road with restrictions, then you'll be ok.

Plenty of car parks in Southend
Things must have changed since i was a, ''parking attendant''. We were expected to bring back at least eight tickets per day, and we was not allowed to ask the public to move or give them grace. Reality is that if you contravene the highway code, then you are issued with a penalty notice, simple rule don't obstruct, park on double yellows or a loading bay, or a road with restrictions, then you'll be ok. Plenty of car parks in Southend Shoeburygem

6:08pm Wed 11 Dec 13

danger2013 says...

Ive had tons of parking tickets and never paid a penny. Just coincidence ?? nooooo. If people actually done a bit of research on the subject they would soon realise they are not obliged to pay any parking fines. But the bunch of sheep that most people are, they assume its a criminal offence to not pay. silly people........
Ive had tons of parking tickets and never paid a penny. Just coincidence ?? nooooo. If people actually done a bit of research on the subject they would soon realise they are not obliged to pay any parking fines. But the bunch of sheep that most people are, they assume its a criminal offence to not pay. silly people........ danger2013

8:20pm Wed 11 Dec 13

lucy10 says...

danger2013 wrote:
Ive had tons of parking tickets and never paid a penny. Just coincidence ?? nooooo. If people actually done a bit of research on the subject they would soon realise they are not obliged to pay any parking fines. But the bunch of sheep that most people are, they assume its a criminal offence to not pay. silly people........
how then
[quote][p][bold]danger2013[/bold] wrote: Ive had tons of parking tickets and never paid a penny. Just coincidence ?? nooooo. If people actually done a bit of research on the subject they would soon realise they are not obliged to pay any parking fines. But the bunch of sheep that most people are, they assume its a criminal offence to not pay. silly people........[/p][/quote]how then lucy10

4:12pm Thu 12 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

Steve H wrote:
I remember LBS....
They need a Muscle firm like LBS, back in town, keeps the roads clear of all those inconsiderate parkers...
[quote][p][bold]Steve H[/bold] wrote: I remember LBS....[/p][/quote]They need a Muscle firm like LBS, back in town, keeps the roads clear of all those inconsiderate parkers... Nowthatsworthknowing

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