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.