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The Powers of Traffic Wardens

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 12 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Traffic Wardens Parking Fines

Traffic wardens are either loved or loathed by motorists but they do fulfil a very important duty. But traffic wardens are not infallible and sometimes errors do occur when issuing parking tickets.

Difference between Traffic Wardens and Civil Enforcement Officers

The major difference between traffic wardens and civil enforcement officers (CEO) is that traffic wardens are employed by the police while CEOs work for local councils. Most motorists and pedestrians will not usually recognise much difference between the two. But parking attendants previously employed by local authorities are now called civil enforcement officers. Some local authorities took the decision to make the move to CEOs and eliminate traffic wardens within their area altogether.

The Powers and Duties of a Traffic Warden

A traffic warden’s main duties will include monitoring parking meters, reporting parking offences and issuing fixed penalty notices. Traffic wardens also monitor controlled parking zones and can have vehicles clamped or towed away by the police. Traffic wardens will also help the police by looking out for stolen vehicles. Many traffic wardens can help the police with anti-social behaviour throughout the community.

Surveillance Powers of Traffic Wardens

Many traffic wardens now have added surveillance powers thanks to miniature cameras fitted into their headgear. Traffic wardens and CEOs do come under abuse from the public on a daily basis. The cameras are designed as extra back-up and will be able to record incidents and use the footage as evidence if attacks do occur. Cameras have been used in the past by the police force and have caused some controversy with civil liberty groups calling them an invasion of privacy. The use of cameras fitted to uniforms is not widely used within the UK as of yet.

Challenging a Parking Fine Issued by a Traffic Warden

Parking fines can be appealed against no matter who has issued them. Many motorists will not appeal against their parking fines simply because they think it would be pointless to do so. Yet recent figures show that around 65% of Parking Ticket Appeals are won by the motorist. In Dundee, around 90% of parking fine appeals are won by the motorist during the appeal stage. In Westminster during 2006 – 2007, 88% of the 15,645 parking appeals were won by motorists.

Appealing Against a Parking Fine

When a motorist receives a parking ticket they can either decided to pay or challenge it. The appeal process is a two stage process. Motorists who are intending to appeal must write to the council that issued the ticket and state their appeal clearly. Any evidence should also be presented including photographs and statements from witnesses. The ticket issuer will then write back informing the motorist whether or not they accept or reject the argument.

Formal Representations When Appealing

If the council rejects the issue, and the motorist has written within the 14 day discount period, the motorist should still be able to pay the discount. If the motorist decides not to pay they will be sent a ‘notice to owner’ form from the issuer. A formal representation can then be made to the council. If turned down again an appeal can be made to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service. There will be different branches of this service for England, Scotland and Wales.

Grounds for Appealing Against a Parking Fine

There are a few legal grounds on which to make an appeal against a parking ticket. These will include:

  • The motorist was asked to pay the wrong amount
  • The motorist was not the owner of the vehicle when the contravention occurred
  • The vehicle was stolen at the time of the contravention
  • There were misleading and invalid signs or the ticket was not issued
  • The vehicle was part of a hire company fleet; the name and address of the hirer will be required
  • The motorist had a valid ticket at the time the parking ticket was issued
  • The Notice to Owner appeared six months after the contravention occurred
  • The parking ticket is invalid due to lack of certain details such as reason for ticket or size of fine
Most traffic wardens will carry out their duties diligently and in a manner designed to aid motorists. But traffic wardens are not infallible and sometimes mistakes do occur. If errors do happen on the part of the traffic warden it will be in the interests of the motorist to appeal against unfairly issued parking tickets.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Jo jo - Your Question:
Is that a specified time the CEO has to wait before placing ticket on vehicle I was 4 mins getting change for the ticket he observed at 11.31 and issued at 11.32 is this right I thought they have to give you 5 mins ??

Our Response:
We don't think there are any specific rules regarding this sorry.
NoPenaltyPoints - 15-Aug-17 @ 10:22 AM
Is that a specified time the CEO has to wait before placing ticket on vehicle I was 4 mins getting change for the ticket he observed at 11.31 and issued at 11.32 is this right I thought they have to give you 5 mins ??
Jo jo - 12-Aug-17 @ 5:04 PM
Bill - Your Question:
I recently got issued a parking ticket, I was in a loading bay but my full attention was on my phone as I had an important video chat I didn't look up once and the whole time a traffic warden was just stood there issuing me a ticket! not once came round the my driver window and ask if I could move, they didn't make me aware they were there at all, it takes two seconds to walk over and say a few words is this fightable?

Our Response:
Probably not. Based on the fact that you didn't notice the traffic warden, you probably wouldn't have noticed someone actually wanting to use the bay for loading either...so you were causing a blockage.
NoPenaltyPoints - 31-Jul-17 @ 11:01 AM
I recently got issued a parking ticket, I was in a loading bay but my full attention was on my phone as I had an important video chat I didn't look up once and the whole time a traffic warden was just stood there issuing me a ticket! not once came round the my driver window and ask if I could move, they didn't make me aware they were there at all, it takes two seconds to walk over and say a few words is this fightable?
Bill - 27-Jul-17 @ 10:41 AM
Hi i wonder if you could help me, i parked in a council Pay and display (1 hour free) I wasn't issued a ticket but a warden was taking pictures of my car i was 3 minutes late can i get a parking ticket for 3 minutes late? many thanks Deborah
Debs - 6-Jun-17 @ 5:57 PM
Rocker The CEO you saw 'checking tyres' was checking the valve positions of the wheels to see if the vehicle had moved in what was probably a limited waiting bay. If for example it is a 2hr maximum stay bay valve positions are taken by a CEO at some point in the day and after the 2hr period they will return to see if vehicle have moved. Rolling your vehicle slightly back or forward will not work as the bays have a No Return period.
Northernmonkey - 25-Nov-16 @ 12:32 PM
you are absolutely disgusting the lack of wardens up our street all drinking over the 4 ways pub portway hill parking on double yellow lines i have been in the 4 ways god knows how many times and phoned and you never send anyone i got a parking ticket in a road by sandwell hospital broke down had to push the car round there we didnt no anything about the permits we were only there for about 10 to 15 minutes to find out where she was shes 90 years old with a broken leg because we on benefits the money is tight and couldnt pay the 35 pound on time because of our payments so we had to pay 70 pound then we found out we could appeal it i reported it and tried to appeal it even up till now which was months ago ive had no reply picking on people who dont no the conditions at the hospital the signs are high up and hiding in the bushes we saw that with our own eyes and they were told the next time we went up if they were to come to my street on a weekend or when the footballs on our street turns into an extension of the 4 ways car park we have been in the pub to complain and took their registrations and told the police and they aint done a dam thing you got the powers so why arnt you doing something about it if i have to im making an official complaint get something sorted because all the residents have had enough of it
bronson - 20-Aug-16 @ 10:42 AM
Whilst on holiday in Mid Devon recently I noticed the local Traffic Warden or CEO was checking the condition of the tyres fitted to legally parked vehicles. Is this something new ? Not sure if he was a Traffic Warden or CEO but question if either has authority to check the condition of vehicle tyres. Anybody else had a similar experience ??
Rocker - 15-Apr-16 @ 5:49 PM
*To Add.... What happened to reducing CO2 in the city. They are making me drive around wasting Diesel in a 3 litre BMW. And creating more CO2. I was parked awaiting a job. I am a minicab driver Thanks Diesel C
Diesel C - 25-Nov-15 @ 11:13 PM
Hi Everyone, I was parked in a pay and display bay in Finsbury Square in London. There was my vehicle and another vehicle occupying 2 bays and another 9! bays available. I was filling out a form in the car,music blasting loud, and I noticed a CEO hovering around my vehicle. I watched her for 10 seconds and see that she was looking around the vehicle in front. So I turned my back and carried on filling out this form. When I looked back about 3 mins later she was pulling out an envelope looking at my car. I asked her if she issued me a ticket, she replied 'no'. She then said that I need to move as I had'nt paid to park. Please correct me if I am wrong, but, if I am in the car with the engine running and headlights on can this CEO still issue me a ticket? Looking forward to a reponse Kind Regards Diesel C
Diesel C - 25-Nov-15 @ 11:05 PM
nuttiebabe - Your Question:
I am horrified that civil enforcement officers can approach and harras members of the public who aren't even using a car. How is this even legal? Is there anything I can do without the enforcement officer running to the police (as she does on regular occasions as ive been told)

Our Response:
We're not aware pf this, you should give more details about what you have seen or experienced.
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-Sep-15 @ 2:12 PM
I am horrified that civil enforcement officers can approach and harras members of the public who aren't even using a car. How is this even legal? Is there anything I can do without the enforcement officer running to the police (as she does on regular occasions as ive been told)
nuttiebabe - 16-Sep-15 @ 9:33 PM
I live in Holton House. In Corsham, some of us elderly or disabled, While someone was picking up one of residents they were told by a traffic warden that residents had to wait on the kerb or walk to the end of the road, one disabled lady frightened by this threat was found struggling to Newlands road because she didn't want to get into trouble, I have never seen H.G.V.drivers parking outside the house told to move on and I have lived here for 3yrs.
chaz - 16-Jun-15 @ 8:03 PM
just seen two wardens telling the doctors private taxi driver for patients, that he couldn't drop the patients of on the double yellow lines, when this is the only place next to the surgery to drop off invalid people. I noticed three to four cars further down the road parked on the causeway, when I said why don't you give these parking tickets they said it was a police action to fine causeway parking. Great people these wardens!!!
vern - 12-Mar-15 @ 4:44 PM
I think that too many council wardens leave their empathy /humanity in the locker when they put their uniform on, too many follow the letter of the law not the spirit of the law. I noticed this many times since my wife came out of hospital "after a major organ transplant and 232 continuous days in various hospitals". A week after she finally got out, she asked to be taken to a bank cash machine. I parked at the side of the road close to the cash machine on a spot that was just long enough to park the car, this is an area where the double yellow lines ended and there was a space before the double lines started again. There were double yellow lines on the other side of the road which was one way, only to be told by the warden that I had to move as the restriction for yellow lines encompasses the area from the kerb to the centre of the road even though there was no yellow lines at the short area where I was stopped" only on the opposite side of the road" I tried to explain that she was not long out of hospital and only needed a few minutes at the cash machine but they were not interested and insisted I move. This at a fairly quiet time of day with not much traffic. Traffic wardens-empathy- humanity, no that just will not mix
frank - 18-Aug-14 @ 10:39 PM
I think traffic wardens are wonderful. I have been a service engineer most of my working life, driving around towns and city's. Ifound that handled correctly with tact and politeness traffic wardens were normally most accommodating. Each of us had a job to do and treated as professionals and not abused thewarden was never a problem. I asked a warden one day if the ticket he was filling out was for me. He said, it might be, I asked if I could move my car and he replied be quick! I moved my car and did not receive the ticket. The warden pointed out that the lady across the road would have received the same treatment had she not swore at him.
sircbm - 5-Aug-14 @ 1:27 PM
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