No re­fund af­ter 1,600 park­ing fines is­sued with­out le­gal power

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

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.”

fixed

penalty

●● An over­sight meant fixed penalty no­tices were is­sued by PCSOs who were not con­trac­tu­ally em­pow­ered to do so

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