Traf­fic war­dens ‘too scared’ to give tick­ets near school

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - NICK STATHAM

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

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