Traffic wardens ‘too scared’ to give tickets near school
TRAFFIC wardens are too scared to hand out tickets outside a primary school for fear of reprisals from angry parents, residents claim.
And Tim Barnes, headteacher at Alkrington Primary School, agrees that wardens sent to book people parked illegally do not always do the job.
He said: “In the past, I have had conversations and said ‘why are you not booking them?’ and had some spurious excuse.
“I thought ‘what’s the point in being here if they’re not going to book people?’
“I know they do sometimes give people notices, but at dangerous times they should be booking them and enforcing them appropriately.”
He added that he was not surprised traffic wardens feel intimidated, adding that emotions can run high and things often become ‘quite heated’.
His comments came after a ‘Police and Communities Together’ meeting heard how parents often flout the rules of the road at drop-off and pickup times, putting pupils in danger.
The meeting heard there have been reports of heated exchanges between drivers and wardens.
Police are now considering launching a joint operation to ensure wardens can dish out tickets to those parked on double yellow lines and restricted areas around the Manor Road school without worrying about repercussions.
The situation was brought to the attention of ward councillors and members of south Middleton neighbourhood policing team at a packed meeting at Alkrington Community Centre.
Residents said parents park on double yellow lines, grass verges and double-park on a roundabout close to the school – often getting involved in furious arguments between themselves when the road is blocked.
Some motorists reportedly drive on the pavement next to the school when parked cars make the road too narrow to pass.
One resident said that when challenged on why he was not booking two cars parked on the pavement, a warden said there was a problem with the signage. But he had added: “If I book everyone else my life won’t be worth living. I certainly wouldn’t be walking back to my car’.”
The resident, who asked not to be named, told the meeting the warden gave the impression he did not want to cause trouble.
South Middleton councillor Peter Williams said the warden was ‘in the wrong job’ if that was the case.
“The only tool we really have is to send these parking enforcement people out, but of course they can’t be at every school all the time,” he added.
“But if they do go to a school they should be booking whoever they find, it’s the only way of dissuading people.
“It is only occasionally they go to a school we want them to go to, so it’s a bit disappointing if when they do turn up they are a bit ambivalent about handing tickets out.”
PC Lee Bracey said it could be possible to organise a joint operation, where police support wardens while they ticket vehicles.
He said: “It sounds like the chap fears for his own safety. If he is that worried we can be there as well, so he will have no reason not to give tickets out.”
The Guardian also spoke to residents: Dad-of-one Sam Finn, said some traffic wardens are too scared to book parents who parked illegally.
He added: “I have seen it get quite heated, but they don’t do their job properly, because people still park on double yellows. Sometimes parents start to get a bit irate, but they calm down when they have to go and pick their kids up.”
Grandfather- of- three Brian Landregan blasted some parents’ parking as ‘crazy’.
But a mum-of-two, who asked not to be named, said the problems were caused because traffic wardens ‘are never here’.
She added: “You should never park on zig-zag lines outside a school, it’s a basic rule of being a driver. It’s really, really bad around here. It’s horrendous.”
Other parents said the parking situation was no different to that outside many other schools, and did not think it was a major problem.
A Rochdale council spokesman said: “Civil enforcement officers do issue penalty charge notices (PCNs) to any driver or vehicle parked in contravention of restrictions.
“PCNs can be served through the post, as well as being fixed to windscreens, should drivers be either threatening or abusive.
“If officers need assistance, they can call for support from colleagues or the police. They also have body-worn cameras which capture images where situations become abusive.
“There is a rigorous reporting process in place which, at the moment, doesn’t show any instances of note at Alkrington Primary School.”
‘It’s really, really bad round here. It’s horrendous’
Cars parked near Alkrington Primary School