Some counties have decriminalised on-street parking offences, so that they are civil matters and the responsibility of civil enforcement officers. Ipswich Borough Council deals with civil parking enforcement in their area. In the rest of Suffolk the offences are still criminal and dealt with by the Constabulary. However, this will change from 6 April 2020.
Progression of Civil Parking Enforcement in Suffolk
Suffolk’s councils are due to take on responsibility for local parking management from 6 April 2020.
Parking patrols in Suffolk will soon be managed by district and borough councils, in a bid to improve parking locally and drive down nuisance and unlawful parking in towns and villages across Suffolk.
Traditionally, roadside parking offences were a matter for the Police. However, parking has become a lower priority for them, so Suffolk County Council is transferring this responsibility to local district and borough councils under a process known as civil parking enforcement, or CPE.
Councils already manage public car parks in many towns and villages, so the changes make sense. Suffolk Constabulary is supportive of the move because the transfer of responsibilities will enable them to spend additional time on keeping communities safe and arresting and bringing offenders to justice.
Moving the responsibility from the police to local councils requires that statutory notice is given in Parliament – which occurred on 9 January 2020.
CPE has been running successfully in Ipswich since 2005; both Ipswich Borough Council and all the district councils have been working collaboratively with Police and Suffolk County Council in the planning stages to ensure a smooth implementation county-wide.
The change will bring many benefits, including:
- greater priority given to parking management locally, to help keep traffic moving;
- district and borough councils empowered to make local decisions in collaboration with towns and parish councils on parking to suit their constituents and local circumstances;
- irresponsible and nuisance parking being enforced – supporting pedestrians, vulnerable road users, public transport services, drivers and emergency services to use the network more safely;
- fines associated with parking will be retained in Suffolk – so local towns and parishes can benefit from improved local infrastructure;
- new jobs created county-wide to support parking management, patrols and enforcement.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see progress being made at last. There has been quite a delay in getting this sorted, so it is great to finally have a date for implementation.
“The council-run parking teams will, without doubt, provide more effective parking enforcement than the police because it will be their main focus – we have seen this in Ipswich where parking enforcement was de-criminalised some years ago.
"Moving the responsibility for parking to local authorities will free up police time for them to deal with more urgent issues, which makes perfect sense and that is why I committed £190K from the Constabulary's reserves to help establish the scheme."
Suffolk is one of the last areas in England to take on Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). CPE already operates successfully in over 300 district council areas in the country and of those without CPE, four are in Suffolk.
Traditionally roadside parking was enforced by the police. However, parking has become such a low priority for them that responsibility has been transferred to the local councils in most areas as they are already responsible for public car parks in their areas.
In some of our towns across Suffolk, selfish drivers are parking without any regard to the fact that they are blocking the road causing traffic to build up or are cutting access to people’s homes or business premises. In extreme cases, our emergency services rushing to answer 999 calls have been held up by badly parked vehicles.
East Suffolk, Ipswich Borough and West Suffolk Councils will carry out civil parking enforcement in their own areas. Within Babergh & Mid Suffolk these services will be provided by West Suffolk and Ipswich Borough Council.