Civil Enforcement Officers
When carrying out their enforcement duties in the City of Southend-on-Sea, Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) will be robust but fair in their activity. The Council has a zero-tolerance approach to malpractices in relation to the issue of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). All of the Council’s CEOs wear Body worn cameras which are recording while they carry out their duties. It is not appropriate to give CEOs high levels of discretion with regard to the issuing of PCNs, as this increases the potential for intimidation and corruption and increases the likelihood of allegations of inconsistent enforcement. PCNs are issued after following legislative guidelines in relation to both observation times and evidence. Our CEOs take photographs of all vehicles issued with a PCN. If they realise that they have made a mistake whilst in the process of issuing a PCN then the CEO will void the ticket, but if the PCN is printed, the PCN can be cancelled, but only for an error and is validated by a supervisor or manager Normally you would see a new PCN issued directly afterwards, but if another PCN was not issued, then supervisory or management personnel would review body worn camera footage to make sure the cancelled PCN was compliant and correctly authorised for cancelation. The CEO will also record details of any other circumstances that they become aware of during the period of observation and issuing the PCN.
The Council sets a number of standards, which CEOs are required to follow when carrying out their duties. The main ones are given below:
- be polite and well presented at all times
- give information and advice about the parking regulations when asked
- be easily recognisable (they wear a uniform which displays the council’s logo, and their individual identification number)
- take photographs of each parking contravention for evidence purposes when issuing a PCN unless prevented from doing so
- give motorists, whose vehicles are parked in contravention of the regulations, the opportunity to move before a ticket is issued
Please bear in mind that when a CEO sees a vehicle parked in contravention of the regulations, they have no way of knowing the circumstances which led to the driver parking it there. Unless the situation is apparent to the CEO, and exempts the vehicle from the regulations (eg, the vehicle is obviously broken down) the CEO is required to issue a PCN. Any special circumstances that the driver feels may lead to the cancellation of the PCN should be explained in writing to the Council when representations are made.