Monday Musing: Victory? What victory?

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The Daily Mail is claiming victory in its war against private parking operators on the basis there will be an ‘official probe into the bully boys’. Let’s analyse this investigative procedure and why the Daily Mail thinks that the law is only defined in terms of criminality.

Let’s begin by debunking a myth.  A motorist ignoring the Highway Code and parking illegally on the road before 1991 was committing a criminal offence and parking infringements were dealt with by the police.

Illegal parking generally became a civil matter from 1991 and was enshrined in the Road Traffic Act of that year.  The police decided they had much more important issues to concentrate on hence the introduction of a Parking Attendant (now called a Civil Enforcement Officer – Traffic Management Act 2004) to patrol our streets.  He doesn’t even get a car with blue lights to do it either, and this same Civil Enforcement Officer may patrol the car parks too.

Does this mean that because there has been streamlining in enforcement duties that the idea of breaking the law doesn’t matter or mean as much since it is not a ‘traditional’ law enforcer that is issuing the penalty? Of course not. The law is the law, criminal or civil.

 And what about private land?  Do people think that because private land is not patrolled by the same Civil Enforcement Officer as the one in the local authority car park or on their street, it equates to an even lesser requirement to follow the rules?  Can both types of parking facility not look the same?  Yes.  They have the same markings.  Why?  So everyone knows what to do!  If motorists didn’t adopt the same set of rules there would be costly and inconvenient collisions.  Can both types of facility charge for parking?  Yes.  Can motorists appeal penalty charge notices and parking charge notices?  Yes.

So, if a landowner wants to provide a service for motorists and make it as simple and straightforward as possible, why should poor parking by a small minority prevent the rest from having a good day?  Is that fair? No!

All the adjudication services (TPT, PATAS, POPLA) follow the law.  It may not be a criminal offence, but they recognise that an infringement of the rules has occurred and therefore, it has consequences.

We all want simplicity.  To achieve it, it is better to concentrate on and attract more of the things that we want than to flirt with the things that we don’t. 

If you receive a PCN that you feel is unfair, explain your position to the issuer and if that doesn’t work, explain it to the adjudicator.  But remember, they will follow the law and their decision will definitely be made based on it.

Its very easy to avoid a Parking ticket…don’t park where you shouldn’t and pay when you should. Responsible motorists never get a parking ticket.

Read the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Do you Need to Pay Parking Fines?’ Q&As if you are unsure what to do.


Claire   04/08/2014 at 18:10

From what I understand the Mail articles were not about fines or punishments issued by official bodies, they were about charges issued by private companies that, according to your own COP :- 19.5 If the parking charge that the driver is being asked to pay is for a breach of contract or act of trespass, this charge must be based on the genuine pre-estimate of loss that you suffer. We would not expect this amount to be more than £100. If the charge is more than this, operators must be able to justify the amount in advance. These companies have taken that to mean they can charge what they like as long as it is below the £100 and need not justify it. If you enforced your code, there would be no problem.

Anti-Enforcement Hobbyist   04/08/2014 at 21:32

Some refreshing honesty there from the BPA. "It may not be a criminal offence, but they recognise that an infringement of the rules has occurred and therefore, it is punishable." Punishable. By a deterrent. An unlawful contractual penalty.

Anti-Enforcement Hobbyist Member   04/08/2014 at 23:00

Thank you BPA in admitting that your members punish people for parking, you've just admitted what we have known for a long time. Your members who are fully endorsed by you issue illegal penalties, its not a civil offence but a criminal one.

Lard   05/08/2014 at 09:17

Your statement is factually incorrect. Local Authority and Private Parking Companies do NOT work under the same rules and regulations. Also contrary to what those in the BPA bully club think they do not have legal ground to issue penalties and punishments to the general public as you have stated above.

J Campbell   06/08/2014 at 13:33

As someone who has witnessed the devious methods used by the private parking companies simply to extract extortionate amounts of money for what they describe as a breach of their terms and conditions. It is my opinion that it is high time the National Press and other media outlets expose this industry and the British Parking Association for what they really are. Unfortunately, the Westminster Government were taken in (hook Line and Sinker) by the BPA when they allowed these companies some degree of legitimacy under the Protection of Freedoms Act in England and Wales. Lets not forget that these are the very same companies who were banned from clamping du to their exploits. Surely now Westminster must intervene and stop this industry obtaining Owner details from the DVLA.

Rule Breaker   11/08/2014 at 16:45

When you speak of infringement of rules, are they the ones that say it costs £100 because one wheel is a few millimeters over a white line or because of overstaying by 5 minutes in a free car park? Rules? Don't make me laugh! Money spinning formula would be a more accurate, and honest, expression.

Me   12/08/2014 at 17:11

I personally am a man of my word.. If I agree to do something, such as pay a sum of money if i don't follow the wishes of someone who was good enough to let me use his/her property; then I do it. Any one who agrees to do something (see above) then is unwilling to honour their side of the bargain at a later date, irrespective of whether they legally have to do so; is quite frankly a dishonourable human being.

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