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Tuesday, January 31, 2006


A tale from another city

This may just be an urban myth, but if there’s anyone out there who can confirm the truth of it – I think we’d all like to know.

The story I have been told is that a Parking Enforcement Officer was issuing a Penalty Charge Notice to a vehicle. The vehicles Driver / Owner arrived and heatedly demanded that the Officer remove the penalty charge notice. The Officer quite rightly refused, pointing out that the Owner would have to follow the challenge procedure on the back of the PCN. The Owner delivered a few choice insults about the Officers parentage. The Officer was not unnaturally upset and stood his / her ground. Owner tore PCN envelope from under the windscreen and threw it to the ground. Officer stooped down to pick up fallen PCN envelope and Owner of vehicle lashed out with his foot, kicking officer in the head.

Officer suffered cuts and concussion. Treated in hospital.

Owner was arrested and charged with assault and GBH. No excuse. A custodial sentence was handed down.

Officer had several days off sick with the injuries sustained, and upon his / her return to work was served with an official written warning from his / her employers for a breach of their health and safety rules.

My take on this is; okay, the Officer could have walked away earlier, but my experience tells me that turning your back too soon on an angry person is an invitation to being struck from behind. Besides, it is not known if the officer concerned had anywhere to go to. You can’t walk away if you’re backed into a corner.

As far as I can see, the Officers only real mistake was stooping down to recover the discarded PCN envelope. He / she should have let it lie, since that would mean the Owner would not have had the option of paying the discounted fine. As for the rest, the blame is a moot point. The kick would probably have been delivered anyway, no matter what the Officer did, so why penalise the injured party?

In the light of this story I repeat my assertion that we Enforcers are regarded as ‘resources’, not people, by the very forces who are supposed to look after our interests.

Your comments please. Firm offers of alternative employment are solicited.


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Location: British Columbia, Canada

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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