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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

 

Using my discretion

Since I work for a Local Authority and not the Constabulary; I am bound by a slightly different book of rules. The chief discrepancy between what I do and what one of the old style Police employed Traffic Wardens did is simple; I am not allowed discretion. For example, if a vehicle is in contravention of the Traffic Regulation Order – then I have to book them, whether in my judgement they are in the right or not. Officially, no one gets the benefit of the doubt. That is down to our office. On the other hand I can use my own judgement to a certain extent.

Not having discretionary powers and using my own discretion could be viewed as splitting rather a fine legal hair. If I may expand this line of reasoning; should I see one of our ‘regulars’ who I know takes the mickey, said person will get no mercy whatsoever. On the flip side of this coin, a person with an obvious mobility problem will get my ‘wagging finger’ and told quite firmly to display their disabled badge properly next time – or go and get one. Although in both circumstances the official line is to “Book ‘em Danno” regardless, why waste time on a ticket you know will get thrown out anyway? I’d rather spend more effort getting the guilty properly bang to rights than booking every poor benighted fool who has made an honest mistake. If they move on before I can slap it on the windscreen – fine – just don’t make a habit of it or you will get done.

Of course that’s just my modus operandi. A lot of the others just do what they’re told and book everything in sight. Personally, I like to think my method is a little more discerning and yields fewer rejected bookings, thus saving my employers the cost of handling more challenges and appeals. Does knock the old ticketing numbers down a tad, but not to the point where my employers take unwelcome notice. We are supposed to be about keeping the streets clear, according to head of department, not as revenue raisers – he ought to tell that to our next level of management up. Revenues drop slightly and all of a sudden its headless chicken time.

Now a confession like this without the shield of a pseudonym, false e-mail and home address with spoofed IP could, in the normal scheme of things, cost me my job. However, I just thought I’d set the record straight. We’re not all machines, but the system we work under is. You could say the guys on the streets are more sinned against than sinning. By way of an experiment you could always try being nice to us – you might be pleasantly surprised. Some of our lot certainly will.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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