Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh the irony

Suburbiaville is pretty much like any other town that happens to have a reasonably agreeable train link to the nearest proper urban centre.

That means parking restrictions. For anywhere within a bordering unreasonable walk to the station has restrictions between what normal society calls working hours. Where there are parking restrictions, there are parking wardens.

Now I admit I don't have anything against these girls and boys most of the time (probably because when I have to park a car with a blue strobe light on I don't worry too much about what little signs on a lamppost say), and if anything I have a degree of sympathy because they can get an inordinate amount of grief.

Quite a few times we get called to help, at which point whilst making sure nobody actually does rip anyones head off we invariably reel off the same standard lines about civil dispute, civil remedies, and generally advise people to pay the fine and then claim it back later.

(Note- this may sound somewhat contrite but this is actually how we do have to deal with these- a parking offence is not a criminal matter, and no matter what the protestations I have no power to order one of the wardens to rescind the ticket. Having been on the recieving end of these things I know how sometimes they can make your blood boil. Which is usually how we end up getting called, to stop it becoming a real criminal matter should the blood perhaps more literally boils over.)

Anyhooooo I happened to be out and about the other day when another of these calls came out to a parking dispute where things were getting out of hand. I wasn't a million miles away so I flicked the little blue switch and pootled along.

I turned around the corner. I am always surprised at how quick these parking warden people manage to get their colleagues round as there were a right old crowd there, at least 6 of them. Anyway I eventually managed to find what was going on.

I managed to supress my laughter when I realised the clamped motor was a council parking enforcement one! It seems one of their chaps had popped in to see a friend or something and had parked on private premises. Just the owner of this particular private premises had paid out for a private firm to clamp naughty unlicenced parkers. The signs were even up. Unlucky for him the private enforcement van turned up while he was still having his tea and digestive and he didn't scramble out of the place in time to stop the clamps going on.

So we had the usual standoff going on whereby removal bloke was attempting to remove vehicle but the driver had sat himself on the seat and was refusing to move. Yes, the driver was a parking warden. Many a time I've dealt with this situation on the flipside.

So I have to admit I was kind of expecting the council blokes to listen to me when I told them once again that I can't make him rescind the ticket. The private contractors were professional ones (I know some are real cowboys) and even had copies of the land registry to show the extent of the private boundary. I told him until I was blue in the face about civil remedies. I pointed out to him just once or twice that the rules are exactly the same for the dozens of times they call us to something like that, just that this time he was the one having to pay out the cash.

Would he listen? Would he heck.

He started going on about allegations of assault and rang 999 when I told him I was not going to deal with this allegation. Spoilt little boy reaction to someone not getting his own way as there was no assault unless you count a tug of war on opposite sides of a motorbike handlebar. Thank you very much. That's two completely and utterly pointless crime reports that are going to go nowhere that I've got to waste my time writing now because it's now officially recorded that there's an allegation of assault.

A colleague turned up and took over (saying exactly the same things), just in time before I lost my temper. I wasn't far off I tell you.

It was eventually resolved when after the best part of 45 minutes he finally listened and stomped off to a cashpoint and got the money. I had to get signatures from them to confirm that the assault allegation wasn't an assault. This was was solely to cover my backside from when the office monkeys picked up the "crime" report the next day and go apoleptic there were two suspects for an assault at the scene I didn't arrest!

So yes. Off the road nearly two hours dealing with what was little more than a grown adult having the tables turned on him and having a right strop about it!

Just thought I'd share.....