Parking enforcement and Civil Enforcement Officers
Staff who issue penalty charge notices are Council Officers, not Police Officers or Traffic Wardens. These staff are known as Civil Enforcement Officers.
Are Civil Enforcement Officers paid some kind of bonus for issuing as many Penalty Charge Notices as they can?
Definitely not. There is no incentive or bonus involved. All Civil Enforcement Officers are fully trained in how, when and why penalty charge notices can, and should, be issued.
If you park, wait or load where there are restrictions in force, you may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) by Civil Enforcement Officers. In some areas, vehicles may be towed away.
Coventry is a Civil Enforcement authority and Coventry City Council is responsible for the enforcement of parking restrictions on streets throughout the city.
West Midlands Police may also take action at some locations such as pedestrian crossings where zig-zag markings are provided. The police are also responsible for enforcement where vehicles cause obstruction or a danger to road users even where there are no specific restrictions on parking.
Most restrictions are indicated by traffic signs and/or road markings but there are some circumstances where parking contraventions are not specifically signed
Parking - good practice
Parking on roads is often restricted to prevent traffic congestion or for safety reasons. It is important to observe and comply with restrictions which are shown with traffic signs and/or road markings. Parking may be permitted only at certain times usually due to the need to keep roads clear at peak traffic periods.
At some locations, especially those in or near town centres, parking may be allowed for limited durations. This helps customers to park reasonably close to shops for a short period.
Drivers also need to be aware of areas where parking is reserved for particular use, such as loading, blue badge holders or permit holders.
Safe and responsible parking
Where parking is not specifically prohibited, drivers must not assume that it is always appropriate to park. The absence of a restriction does not automatically mean that it is legal, safe, or reasonable to park. Always consider how your parking will affect other road users. Do not park where it would endanger, inconvenience, or obstruct pedestrians or other road users.
The Highway Code
Full details can be found in the Highway Code which states that:
You must not park:
- where there are specific restrictions (eg yellow lines, clearways)
- on a road with double white lines (in the middle of the road)
- on a tram, bus, or cycle lane during its period of operation
- on a cycle track
- in parking spaces reserved for specific users, such as Blue Badge holders, residents, or motorcycles, unless entitled to do so
- where your vehicle or trailer would be in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road.
Do not stop or park:
- near a school entrance
- anywhere you would prevent or restrict access for Emergency Services
- at or near a bus or tram stop or taxi rank
- on the approach to a level crossing or tramway crossing
- opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space
- near the brow of a hill or hump bridge
- Opposite or near to a traffic island
- Opposite or near another parked vehicle or road works if this would cause an obstruction
- where you would force other traffic to enter a tram lane
- where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users, powered mobility vehicles and other non-motorised road users
- in front of an entrance to a property
- on a bend
- where you would obstruct cyclists' use of cycle facilities.
Parking on pavements may be dangerous as it can obstruct pedestrians and lead to people of all ages and abilities having to walk in the road. Those using or pushing wheelchairs or buggies may need the full width of the pavement to get past parked cars without having to negotiate kerbs to use the road.
Parking on pavements creates a hazard for blind and visually impaired people.
Dropped kerbs are provided for many reasons including at driveways and other accesses as well as to assist pedestrians to cross the road and to enable wheelchairs and pushchairs to pass between footway to carriageway.
The Council may issue penalty charge notices to vehicles that are obstructing pedestrian crossing points including where there are no road markings. These consist of lowered kerbs or raised carriageway to create a smooth crossing. Tactile paving is also often provided to help blind and visually impaired people to know which direction to take.
Any part of a vehicle encroaching into the crossing area will create an obstruction. A vehicle does not have to be fully obstructing the crossing point area. A Civil Enforcement Officer can issue a Penalty Charge Notice if any part of the vehicle is obstructing the crossing area.