They did it in the UK


They did it in the UK

It happened.  A news agency (the BBC in this case) put forth a reporter to go "undercover" to blow the whistle on private parking enforcement officers. The story is here.

My comment is a giant shrug — so what.

Between APCOA, NCP and other companies that supply citation writing service to the different boroughs and cities in the UK, there are thousands of enforcement officers. In this case the chap went underground and found what, three incidents of abuse of the system.  (One or two failed thefts and an a couple of cases of abuse of the rules.)

I don’t see any rampant problem here. Sure APCOA and NCP could have a bit better supervision and should. However, my guess is that the vast majority of private enforcement officers do their jobs just fine, thank you very much.

The main concern seems to be that the companies, like the California Highway Patrol, and most enforcement agencies I’m aware of, use the number of tickets written per shift as a guide to the efficiency of the officer. In this case, its 10 per shift. WOW! Less than two an hour. Plus the officer has to walk 15 miles a day — that’s less than two miles an hour. Sigh. That’s hardly crawling up the street. As one email comment sent to the BBC said

What I want to know is how he couldn’t manage to issue 10 tickets in a day in London! Was he walking around with his eyes closed?!

My thoughts exactly.

Oh, well. The parking profession is busted again. The BBC spent good time and money getting the low down and found three or four abuses out of hundreds of thousands. I also note that there was not a comment that most of the thousands of tickets written weekly in London were exactly "spot on."

Of course not a word about why parking is controlled, and what the money is used for. That would be muckraking.

And after all this, all the BBC could come up with was what looked like a three to five minute piece. Nothing from the attendants themselves, and a "deer in the headlights" spot from the management of NCP and APCOA.

Gee, think the reporter and the BBC had an agenda? Did, perhaps, someone higher up in the organization get a parking ticket, of course undeserved, and think that now might be the time to "get back" at the system? Nope, couldn’t be that. It was certainly just a good journalist with an open mind going in and learning about the parking business.


The wonderful mainstream media does it again. All those folks who work as enforcement officers will get spit on again. Nothing like being fair and balanced.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. I want to comment on this article as I saw the program on the BBC and I am alarmed by the inability of many of our Local Authorities and their Agents to regularly review the major areas of dispute and to introduce more common sense practices that will ensure the motorist is dealt with a greater level of consistency as this would alleviate the pressure for all parties concerned.
    In my view, we in the parking industry need to be providing clear messages that parking enforcement is an essential part of traffic controls and very necessary for local communities to function as effectively as possible. We also need to dispel the growing belief that enforcement is performed mainly to raise further income as another tax on the motorist and finally we need to get to the point where the motorist is aware that this is an essential service and we must ensure it is delivered in a just, friendly and professional manner.
    Our industry has made some unfortunate mistakes over the years in dealing effectively with some of these issues and regrettably this is being used by the media and the public at large with great effect for the regular industry bashing. However in my view it’s “not mission impossible” and the solution lies by our industry as a whole adopting common sense, proactive and open solutions that I am confident will bring success.
    Manny Rasores
    Mr.Parking Consultancy
    England, United Kingdon

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