Assaulting our wardens won’t get rid of spy cars... but it will get you prosecuted (From Southend Standard)
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Assaulting our wardens won’t get rid of spy cars... but it will get you prosecuted
3:00pm Friday 27th July 2012 in Southend
ASSAULTS on Southend’s traffic wardens are on the rise, according to the borough’s parking contractor.
Neil Hunwicks, whose firm Apcoa patrols the town’s streets on behalf of Southend Council, said his staff suffered verbal and physical abuse on an “almost daily basis”.
Traffic wardens have hit the headlines regularly over the past year as public vitriol against Southend’s twin spy cars grew and grew. However, Mr Hunwicks said nobody deserved to be abused for carrying out their job and vowed to prosecute anyone who laid a finger on his staff.
He said: “My team is tasked with the civil enforcement of parking contraventions, so why should they put up with this level of abuse? “In Southend, we have a 100 per cent success rate when it comes to prosecuting people for verbal or physical assaults, and we give our team all the support it needs.
“People who get angry about receiving a penalty should ask themselves, ‘Is it worth getting a criminal record for a parking ticket?’ “Personally, I don’t think so.”
The spy cars – two Toyota iQs armed with rotating CCTV cameras – have dished out more than 40 tickets a day since they were introduced last summer. Their remit to roam about the borough in between protecting schools – and the amount of ground they can cover – has led to a string of complaints, as motorists claim they are being unfairly targeted for minor offences. However Mr Hunwicks said the cars had been successful in making Southend’s streets safer and pointed out the need for them would diminish if drivers learned to obey the rules. He said: “Road safety and traffic flow can be significantly affected by just one inconsiderate driver parking dangerously.
“While there are inconsiderate drivers who continue to flout the regulations in locations where our foot patrols cannot effectively issue penalties, then there will be a need for CCTV enforcement.
“If drivers abide by the regulations, then the need for this type of enforcement should diminish over time.”