Civil parking enforcement (CPE) is the term that is used to signify that it is the local authority and not the local police service that enforces parking rules. It applies specifically to on-street parking and is given legal weight by the Road Traffic Act 1991.
One must have in mind exactly what is going on. There are three key points to note:
- Most parking offences are now not in the realm of criminality including parking on yellow lines
- It is that local authority that does the civil parking enforcement and it is the local authority that gets to keep the charges
- The type of ticket issued is the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)
Civil Parking Enforcement in England and Wales
Local authorities introduced civil parking enforcement round about 2004 throughout England and Wales.
However, this was a gradual process and we find that although some rural places had this type of parking enforcement many city centres had to wait until about 2008. Sometimes commercial parking companies manage all this on behalf of the local authorities.
The effect on the street is that so often the employees of these parking companies now called civil enforcement officers have replaced police parking wardens and district council car parking patrols.
The level of enforcement is now considerably higher than before.
What are the benefits?
It is our belief that CPE gives the local authority greater control over the dealing with illegal and/or inconsiderate parking. This is of assistance to the majority of drivers who are anxious to keep to the regulations and it is designed to help:
- The emergency services
- Bus passengers
The experience of so many local authorities is that by hiring, training and managing their own parking attendants they have a tailor-made answer to their own particular situations and can, for example, deploy staff to places of great need at relatively short notice. In other words, CPR is flexible, not rigid.
The motorist who parks in a place of restricted parking without:
- A permit
- A valid ticket
Is liable to get a parking ticket, now called a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).
The big point here is that although the motorist has to pay the penalty it does not lead to either:
- A criminal record
- Points on the driving licence
The PCN is therefore different from the Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) which is issued by the police and/or traffic wardens for criminal offences.
Where does the money go?
CPE is indeed self-financing. The local authorities declare that excess money that is not used for administration and other costs goes to improving local transport.
This, they say is for:
- Improving parking facilities
- Traffic management
- Better public transport
- Facilities for pedestrians and cyclists