Abused park­ing war­dens helped

Rodney Times - - OUT & ABOUT - FELIC­ITY REID

Auck­land Transport has an on-site coun­sel­lor to help park­ing war­dens deal with the mul­ti­ple in­ci­dents of abuse, threat­en­ing be­hav­iour and as­sault they face each month.

The frus­tra­tion of re­ceiv­ing an in­fringe­ment no­tice can lead peo­ple to lash out at the 153 Auck­land Transport (AT) park­ing of­fi­cers work­ing across the greater Auck­land re­gion. AT em­ploys the coun­sel­lor to as­sist the park­ing of­fi­cers with the pres­sures of deal­ing with neg­a­tiv­ity in their role, AT me­dia re­la­tions man­ager Mark Han­nan said.

‘‘Peo­ple make their own choices how and where to park, yet seem to vent frus­tra­tions out­wardly when tick­eted,’’ Han­nan said.

Each week park­ing com­pli­ance re­ceives 860 re­quests for an of­fi­cer to at­tend an event. Park­ing com­pli­ance keep clear­ways clear, man­age com­pli­ance on the bus lane net­work and mon­i­tor street park­ing.

‘‘There are all types of peo­ple that make up the pop­u­la­tion of Auck­land and by far the greater per­cent­age are amaz­ing proud peo­ple. There is, with ev­ery city of this size, an el­e­ment that is un­de­sir­able. Whilst you can train and plan for your peo­ple, you can­not con­trol the thoughts of oth­ers,’’ Han­nan said.

In March there were 24 re­ports of ag­gres­sive be­hav­iour, ver­bal abuse and threats of vi­o­lence to­wards AT’s park­ing com­pli­ance and ser­vice cen­tre staff. In July there were 19 in­ci­dents re­ported by front­line cus­tomer-fac­ing AT staff, in­clud­ing an in­ci­dent in which a park­ing of­fi­cer was as­saulted.

AT has a strong fo­cus on the well­be­ing of its park­ing of­fi­cers, Han­nan said. AT is also work­ing closely with po­lice to sup­port the park­ing of­fi­cers.

If any ar­eas are deemed as par­tic­u­larly un­safe by a park­ing of­fi­cer, AT will re­vise and au­dit the area and in some in­stances have in­creased from a one per­son pa­trol to a two per­son pa­trol.

‘‘Any of­fi­cer work­ing af­ter hours is ei­ther with a buddy or has a ded­i­cated se­cu­rity of­fi­cer with them,’’ Han­nan said.

Park­ing of­fi­cers out in the field have also re­ceived ad­vanced com­mu­ni­ca­tion technology to sup­port them, with plans to ex­tend this fur­ther this fi­nan­cial year.

Com­pli­ance staff have also re­cently at­tended a two spe­cially de­signed street-safe cour­ses for deal­ing with abuse from the pub­lic.

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