Dozens of traf­fic war­dens are at­tacked and abused

Salford Advertiser - - CITYLIFE LOCAL - Pete Bain­bridge news­desk@men-news.co.uk @ MENnews­desk

FIVE traf­fic war­dens were in­jured and dozens more abused by mo­torists in Manch­ester over the last year.

Park­ing of­fi­cers re­ported 54 in­ci­dents across the city, in­clud­ing at­tacks, dam­aged equip­ment and even an at­tempted bribe.

But the firm which pro­vides war­dens says abuse is fall­ing due to their ze­ro­tol­er­ance ap­proach, and they will seek the ‘tough­est penal­ties’ for of­fend­ers.

NSL Ser­vices em­ploy 93 Civil En­force­ment Of­fi­cers (CEOs) across Manch­ester city coun­cil bound­aries.

They have pow­ers to is­sue fixed penalty tick­ets for park­ing of­fences, in­clud­ing park­ing on dou­ble yel­low lines, in load­ing bays, re­stricted zones and dis­abled bays.

Our sis­ter pa­per the M.E.N. re­vealed last month how the coun­cil is col­lect­ing al­most £100,000 a day from park­ing in the city. That fig­ure in­cludes all in­come re­lated to on­street and off-street park­ing – in­clud­ing fees, sales and fines.

NSL say there were 54 in­ci­dents re­ported by their CEOs be­tween Jan­uary 2014 and Jan­uary 2015 – down from 66 in­ci­dents two years ago.

The lat­est fig­ures re­veal that five traf­fic war­dens were in­jured dur­ing their work across Manch­ester: l Dantzic Street, city cen­tre: In June, last year, a CEO suf­fered a bruised head af­ter be­ing at­tacked. l Stock­port Road, Longsight: In Septem­ber, two war­dens were as­saulted. One suf­fered a bruised torso while the other was left with a strained wrist. l Radnor Street, Gor­ton: A CEO was left with lac­er­a­tions to his head af­ter an in­ci­dent in Oc­to­ber. l Old­ham Road, city cen­tre: Also in Oc­to­ber, an en­force­ment of­fi­cer suf­fered mul­ti­ple strains to his body.

All in­juries were classed as ‘mi­nor’ but NSL bosses say they have zero-tol­er­ence for any abuse.

Belinda Webb Blofeld, NSL spokesman, added: “All kinds of abuse are un­ac­cept­able and when­ever this hap­pens we al­ways work closely with the po­lice and the courts to push for the tough­est penal­ties against those found guilty of it.”

Ear­lier this year, a war­den work­ing for Rochdale coun­cil man­aged to pho­to­graph a man who sex­u­ally as­saulted her af­ter a row over two cars parked in a load­ing bay.

Bart­lomiej Piotr Szmydt, 24, of Drake Street in the-town, was jailed for six months over the as­sault and was or­dered to com­ply with the sex of­fend­ers’ reg­is­ter for seven years.

There were more inci- dents in Manch­ester two years ago, com­pared with the lat­est fig­ures.

The M.E.N. ear­lier re­vealed how be­tween Au­gust 2012 and Au­gust 2013, there were 66 in­ci­dents – from at­tempted bribery to as­sault – across the city.

Of those re­ports, 48 were passed on to po­lice for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion and some cases went be­fore the courts.

The fig­ures from 2013 to 2014 have not yet been made avail­able.

A Manch­ester coun­cil spokesman said: “We never tol­er­ate any kind of abuse – phys­i­cal or ver­bal – against our staff or con­trac­tors.”

The coun­cil is now col­lect­ing £100,000 a day from park­ing, or nearly £15m a year – up from £12.5m in 2010, the year be­fore it hiked city cen­tre park­ing charges by up to a fifth.

It ex­pects to col­lect £144,000 more from on­street park­ing than pre­vi­ously fore­cast this year, ac­cord­ing to a sep­a­rate in­ter­nal re­port.

Town hall chiefs say their plan for the cash is fully in line with gov­ern­ment rules, as it will all be spent on roads and trans­port.

STEVE ALLEN

Dozens of traf­fic war­dens have suf­fered abuse

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