Breaking the rules within car parks is no longer a criminal matter. The enforcement of the rules is carried out by civil enforcement officers who work on behalf of either the local Authority or a private firm. Boards are usually displayed within the car parks, to show the company responsible for the enforcement and their rules. The offence is a civil one and the company will be able to provide the appropriate advice.
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.
Progression of Civil Parking Enforcement in Suffolk
A working group comprising of representatives from the police, district and borough councils and the county council is in place to progress the transition of on-street parking enforcement in Suffolk from the police to local authorities. Such a change is known as Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE). CPE is currently undertaken in Ipswich by Ipswich Borough Council on behalf of Suffolk County Council.
The aim is to ensure that an effective system is created, allowing all parking enforcement to be fully coordinated across the county.
In September 2016 a framework for CPE in the county was agreed by the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders Group. This will see Ipswich, St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District/Borough Councils undertaking enforcement in their respective areas on behalf of the County Council. They will also cover the Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Council areas.
It was agreed by the various parties the aim is to have CPE fully operational across Suffolk by April 2019.
There is a need to put an application to the Secretary of State for Transport to obtain the necessary powers which requires evidence of consultation together with a review of all the parking restrictions. In addition, operational processes need to be in place including recruiting staff and procuring necessary equipment to enable CPE to be fully operational.
In the meantime, police will continue to deal with illegal parking outside of Ipswich as explained below.
The Constabulary deploys its resources according to threat, harm and risk, so dealing with parking offences is a lower priority and complaints of illegal parking will not automatically result in police attending them. However, officers will attend where there is a clear offence that poses a risk to public safety, and police will consider prosecution where criminal, community engagement or vulnerability issues are identified.
Where there is a particular issue with a particular location which is causing community concern, the Safer Neighbourhood Team will deal with it appropriately.
Parking offences include:
- parking obstructions (including skips and trailers)
- yellow lines
- loading restrictions
- zig zag lines
- waiting restrictions
- limited parking
- disabled parking
- police no-waiting signs
The penalties initially start from a £30 penalty to a £100 with 3 penalty points, with higher penalties being given out by the courts.