No refund after 1,600 parking fines issued without legal power
POLICE are refusing to pay back 1,600 parking fines dished out by PCSOs who didn’t have the legal power to do so.
The blunder was discovered after recent review of PCSO contracts undertaken by Cheshire Police.
The force found omissions in the employment contracts of a number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) which meant they were not contractually empowered to issue certain types of parking tickets.
The contracts related to two periods – prior to 2006 and then after 2010.
But despite the fines being handed out without the correct authority, police say they have taken legal advice and will not be reimbursing those motorists involved.
Assistant Chief Consta- ble Mark Roberts said no PCSO acted knowingly beyond their powers in issuing parking tickets to motorists.
He said: “We have thoroughly reviewed our position. Following legal advice, we do not propose to reimburse those individuals who may have been given a fixed penalty notice by a PCSO without the contractual power.
“By paying the fine, motorists have admitted their liability for the parking violation; and administratively, the force cannot confidently identify those who may have paid the parking ticket.
“While we are confident that all fixed penalty notices were issued in good faith, the Constabulary wishes to apologise for the uncertainty this has generated.”
Cheshire Police were prompted to review its PCSO contracts after reports that other forces had the same issue.
Police estimate 1,600 tickets were handed out in the county. It is not known how many of these were in Macclesfield.
Cheshire Police said once the issue was identified all PCSOs ceased issuing notices.
The terms of the affected PCSOs have now been corrected and they are now able to exercise the appropriate powers.
John Dwyer, Cheshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said he was ‘very disappointed’ by the blunder.
He added: “It is clear that previous chief constables wished PCSOs to have the power, but that an administrative error meant that this wasn’t implemented.
“This pre-dates both myself and the current chief constable.
“PCSOs, who do fantastic work in our communities, were acting in good faith and were properly trained.”
●● An oversight meant fixed penalty notices were issued by PCSOs who were not contractually empowered to do so