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Talks continue to maintain parking controls in Highland communities

5th December 2013

The Highland Council and Police Scotland are to work together to ensure parking management is maintained in the Highlands when the traffic warden service – currently provided by the police - ends.

Police Scotland have given notice of the completion of their phased withdrawal from the service from 3 February, next year. This is when the remaining five traffic wardens based at Inverness (2), Dingwall, Tain and Fort William are redeployed to other duties. At one time there were 18 full and part-time traffic wardens employed in the Highlands.

Talks between the Council and Police Scotland have been taking place at a senior level for several months and both are committed to putting in place a plan to ensure continuity of a service in communities that require traffic/parking management.

Looking further ahead, the Council will be focusing on the introduction of a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) scheme, which gives the Council responsibility for parking controls.

An authority which operates a DPE regime employs parking attendants, who place penalty charge notices on vehicles parking in contravention of parking regulations. Penalty charges are civil debts, due to the local council. Motorists wishing to contest a penalty charge may first appeal to the council and then to independent adjudicators, whose decision is final.

Until then, the onus remains with the police to continue to enforce parking law.

Councillor Drew Millar, Chair of the Council’s Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee, said: “Safety is a crucial consideration in our deliberations on this important matter. Parking management in our main communities is essential and the public should be assured that the Council is working at the highest level with Police Scotland officers to ensure a continuity of enforcement of parking offences.

“Until we are able to introduce the DPE regime, the police will continue to use their powers to take appropriate action on our streets when a parking problem arises and to closely monitor parking management.”

Councillor Millar hinted that the Council would be examining a new model of community officer, whose role would include a range of community enforcement issues, such as parking, litter and dog fouling.

Chief Superintendent Julian Innes gave a categorical assurance that the police will continue to enforce parking offences once the traffic warden service is withdrawn.

He said: “The onus clearly lies with the police and we will continue to promptly respond to any parking issue that requires our attention. We are working closely with the Council to introduce a short and long-term plan of action.”

 

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