Where there’s smoke – there’s fined
The situation at present is as follows; you can’t smoke in our mess room, and from 1st July won’t be allowed to smoke in the entire building. Now the law as it stands forbids smoking ‘in the workplace’. Now, speaking as someone whose workplace is the Streets, does this mean that any of my smoking brethren cannot bunk off for a quick smoke whilst out on patrol? Or, provided of course that they have removed their cap and epaulettes, they can, provided they have logged off on a ‘break’. No one has given us any guidance on this as yet. As if they will until it becomes a ‘disciplinary matter’. Please note; we are not deemed to be ‘in uniform’ when without these items, and if seen booking a vehicle whilst not properly attired, then any Penalty Charge Notice issued when not ‘in uniform’ can be made invalid upon challenge.
Now the ‘official’ guidelines (Key points) from the Smoke free England website are laid out below;
· From 1 July 2007 it will be against the law to smoke in virtually all enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and workplaces.
· Public transport and work vehicles used by more than one person will also need to be smokefree.
· No-smoking signs will have to be displayed in all smokefree premises and vehicles.
· Staff smoking rooms and indoor smoking areas will no longer be allowed, so anyone who wants to smoke will have to go outside.
· Managers of smokefree premises and vehicles will have legal responsibilities to prevent people from smoking.
· If you are uncertain where you can or can't smoke, just look for the no-smoking signs or ask someone in charge (If you ask me, no one’s told me anything so I won’t have a clue - sorry).
Our discussion opened when Chris lit up his usual badly rolled ‘tab’ and stood in the mess room doorway to smoke and talk as usual. “You jacking it in before first July mate?” Pete asked him.
“I’m going to try.” Chris took a short drag on his roll up and coughed like an old tractor. I never fathom why he still smokes, what with his bronchitis and all.
“Where you going to smoke if you can’t?” Davey asked him.
“Have to go outside won’t I?” Was Chris’s rather surly response. He’s had several run ins with Management over the past few months and he’s less than enchanted with them because of this.
“Yeah, but you’ll have to leave Council property, which’ll put you outside the grounds. You thought about that?” Davey pointed out; tell you the truth I think he was winding Chris up more than a bit.
“If I don’t, none of you lot’ll rat on me will you?” Chris asked with an unpleasant twist to his mouth like he’d just tasted a dead skunk.
“Don’t be daft.” Pete replied.
“We’re your mates, get off.” Asif is a smoker himself, so that was predictable.
“No one here is going to tell, you daft prat.” Colin reassured.
“Unless it’s Henry.” Pete leaned his chin on his hand moodily.
“Or that square eyed bastard Jago.” Davey observed.
“They’d sell their own mothers to suck up to Management.” Pete said.
“And they both smoke.” I pointed out.
“Fucking hypocrites, the pair of ‘em. You want to watch those bastards.” Pete wagged a warning finger.
“We already do Pete, already do.” Davey replied. The rest of us nodded sagely. There is a certain coterie amongst us who are well known backstabbers. They lack the spine to deal with issues face to face and go running to Management over the slightest disagreement. Even Management have gotten teed off enough to issue an edict that ‘petty matters’ should not be brought to them. Not that this has stopped Jago and Henry so far. Pillocks.
At the moment of writing, we Parking Enforcers haven’t been asked to join the ‘enforcement’ side of the smoking ban. That is to be done by a separate band on non-uniformed ‘inspectors’ (Praise the Lord). Speaking as this particular Parking Enforcer I shall be refusing to enforce the ban unless we can use it to get rid of the wino’s who occasionally pollute our car parks. I already have my work cut out doing normal patrol duties, so unless some serious extra money is on the table for this purpose (And even if there isn’t) our illustrious leaders can go whistle. For myself, all that is going through my mind on the subject is the following thought; phew! At least there’s going to be someone out there less popular than us.
Addendum: Looks like those new ‘Anti Smoking Inspectors’ may in turn have someone to look down on. Will we have Binge Drinking Inspectors next? Oh yes, and don’t think that being middle class will save you from any putative predations. Hells bells, it’s enough to drive you to drink. Oh well, mine’s a large one with a Fixed Penalty Notice chaser. Cheers!