Abused parking wardens helped
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.