A FLYING SQUAD OF TRAFFIC WARDENS

The Scottish police authority dropped the role of the traffic warden from their services in 2014. People became aware  of the missing enforcers when some of the roads, the pavements and any road-like nook or cranny started to resemble a motorists’ wild west. There was double parking, some drivers were even triple parking.  I saw cars at rest close to traffic lights, there was plenty of parking on and close to junctions.  It was perilous to ease out of the shadows of the vehicles into the main road. Now, in some countries this kind of parking is an okay every day occurrence, but it definitely is not allowed here in the UK.

Tearaway Biker

Earlier this year, parking habits got so bad, the local police chief was prompted to issue a very polite request in the county newspaper asking motorists to be more considerate and be mindful of parking restrictions and traffic laws. There was a suggestion that if there was not a meaningful response to this polite request, some people in police uniform would issue forth from the police station and take action. Inevitably, many commercial vehicle companies were unlikely to have seen the newspaper article and the drivers  of those vehicles, (some vehicles are really huge)  while needing to complete their work, were amongst the worst offenders.

Van

Last month the Regional Council decided there was a money-making opportunity they were missing.  A squad of yellow line painters were despatched around the region to renew faded and broken traffic restriction road markings and, in our area, re-site a few. We are being exhorted to take note of the yellow lines on the road and read the parking restrictions signs.

ryr

About now, a flying squad of ‘traffic wardens’ will be starting their initial peregrination to all the far flung towns and villages; we’re expecting a diplomatic offensive on the 19th October, if they can find their way. Unless there’s any glaring violations, the idea is,  on this first visit, the flying squad of traffic wardens will only issue advisory warning notes. Hereon in, subsequent unannounced visitations, are to be for serious cash generating business, which will no doubt, pay for the traffic warden’s wages and  expenses and add a much needed fillip to the cash-strapped council coffers.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore

Getty Images:  Peter Cook and Dudley Moore -clever comedians, now sadly. departed from this world- lampooning traffic wardens.

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16 thoughts on “A FLYING SQUAD OF TRAFFIC WARDENS

    • Hi Bushka,

      The Parking/traffic wardens would be delight to be promoted to traffic cops. I wonder though, where they have all gone!

      More seriously, it is not clear yet what the extent of the parking/traffic wardens’ powers, or, authority will actually be. Without a doubt they must be working to certain local regulations. I’ll probably delve in due course. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Hello Gill,

      Rethink…..I am surprised it took this long for the regional council to think!

      The regional picture is, people do need access to personal, or, alternative methods of transport to deal with every day requirements as the public transport infrastructure in remote and very remote areas is really not good. The council has to be mindful of this while balancing out the other issues around the parking misbehaviour seen. It will be interesting to see how drivers behave when the flying squad operation begins for real, that is, without announcements of imminent arrival and in-between visits.

      • Yup, and we could hazard a guess at who will grumble the most, Gilly!

        The balance between fining for traffic violations, (even setting up situations for them to be regular income devices, perish the thought) and raking in income, will be closely observed in badly served transport areas.

        If local car parks are targeted there could be uproar from the small band of hoteliers and traders who, apart from being the lifeline for people’s basic and social needs, do rely on customers to be able to drive their long distances and park within wasy reach of the businesses.

        Slightly off traffic wardens but on the same issue, we visited one village a few years ago that had three speed limits on one relatively short road. It had an abundance of policing cameras….I have not heard if that was ever sorted. It would have been a useful cash cow for the police and government; a particular method used to divvy up the takings. Locals certainly grumbled lots and cursed visitors for the afflication: not a healthy combination.

    • Hi AnneMarie,

      You’re right about the divesting of responsibility for local traffic violations. It will always cost to operate any regulatory requirement and with the budget cuts, the police made a big saving by relinquishing the operation to civil authority. Local agencies saw an opportunity. In some cities and towns it is nigh impossible to find legal parking. Out-of-town shopping with low cost, or, free time-limited parking has offset that to a large extent. Central interactive commerce is dying in the high streets, in part, because of the inconvenience and heavy restrictions against personal transport. Where there is reasonable public transport, it may not be so bad, however, the diversity of the high street is changing. There are many people who are unable to lug heavy shopping to and fro with or without local buses, or, trains.

    • Yes Mr F, I remember it well. Road and Roadside signs in cities have become very complex. There’s a prerequisite for a PhD in signage and how to interpret it.

      Years ago in London, I drove a very elderly infirm lady to her front door, it could not have been in a worse place, a busy high street. I placed an official local authority notice on my dashboard to indicate this was genuine ‘ social business’. I assisted the lady into her home. When I returned to my car, about fifteen minutes later, I found a penalty notice tucked under my windscreen wipers. I caught up with a traffic warden, it was the guy who had ticketed my car. No moderated explanation, nor indicating the official notice on my dashboard, made any difference to his surliness. Even if he could not read, he should have been able to recognise the official insignia of the organisation we both worked for!

      Needless to say, I had all the letter-writing, explanations and phone discussions to deal with. It took some weeks to resolve. The penalty notice was rescinded…not without a performance.

  1. It would be chaos in Liverpool without traffic wardens, they are utterly loathed though, they seem to delight in catching people out….running for a ticket can be quite stressful!xxx

  2. The role of the traffic warden induces a love/hate relationship. They are the face of on the spot fines for miscreants of varying levels, with no distinction between them. Their discretion is limited to the rules they work to and any challenge must be dealt with through a legal style third party office. The traffic wardens spawn an industry which is paid for, mostly, through people trying to push boundaries by ignoring regulation. Being told off, or being in the naughty corner upsets us. The fines are also like a local tax and supplement cash-strapped councils. This also upsets people. All this upset, and the refocussing our our testing of authority and more, is focussed onto the one visible warden on the street. It is not dissimlar from feelings about politicians.
    Xxx

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