Former parking attendant slams council after Camden becomes second top borough for tickets

Ciaran Flavin. Picture: Polly Hancock

Ciaran Flavin. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A former parking attendant has called for Camden Council to be stripped of the power to issue parking fines after branding the number of penalty charges handed out in the borough “an embarrassment”.

Ciaran Flavin, 58, who worked as a civil enforcement officer in Camden for five years until leaving in 2013, slammed new figures that showed motorists in Camden were being issued the second-highest number of tickets out of all London boroughs.

A report published by London Councils, a non-political representative of local authorities in the capital, showed more than 235,000 penalty charge notices (PCNs) for parking were issued in Camden between 2013 and 2014 – more than double the average of London’s 32 boroughs.

While charges can be as much as £130, even if everyone paid a reduced £65 per ticket, motorists would still have handed over more than £15million in the past year alone.

Westminster Council issued the highest number of parking PCNs at just over 430,000.

Mr Flavin accused the council of using parking ticket revenue to supplement its income and said parking control should be handed “to a more trusted authority like the police”.

After being contacted by the Ham&High, he said: “I was embarrassed to be working in Camden. In staff briefings there’s absolutely no interest in the impact parking tickets can have on the public and no interest at all in customer service or how to help the public.

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“And Camden has a very poor reputation in relation to how it gives out tickets. Sometimes colleagues were issuing tickets when they shouldn’t have, by not waiting long enough for motorists to return to their cars.

“Others would watch residents park illegally and instead of advising them to park elsewhere, they’d wait until they left and issue them with a ticket.

“Motorists ought to be treated as customers to be helped rather than just punished.”

Mr Flavin said he wasn’t aware of a ticket quota for parking officers, but added: “Parking attendants would sometimes be clapped into the office if they’d issued lots of tickets. I remember once being shouted at because I once came back after lunch without having issued any tickets. My manager suggested I resign.”

Cllr Sally Gimson, Camden Council’s cabinet member for sustainability and environment, said: “The number of parking fines Camden issues has been falling steadily for years.

“We welcome this as it means PCNs are working, people are parking more considerately and using the roads more safely. The money we collect from PCNs is ring-fenced and used for concessionary travel passes and road improvements.”