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Tougher crackdowns on nuisance motorists near as councils prepare to take over parking enforcement

PUBLISHED: 07:01 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:29 14 January 2020

Parking enforcement powers will transfer from police to councils in Suffolk in 2020. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Parking enforcement powers will transfer from police to councils in Suffolk in 2020. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

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Changes to parking enforcement powers in Suffolk, which are expected to bring tougher crackdowns on nuisance motorists, have been laid before Parliament for the final go-ahead.

Police and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, had expressioned frustration at the delays. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice and crime commissioner, Tim Passmore, had expressioned frustration at the delays. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Parking enforcement powers will be transferred from police to local councils from April 6 this year.

The change must formally go through the Houses of Parliament, with the order having been laid there on Thursday.

A three week period where MPs can ask to debate it must now take place, and once signed off from January 30, preparations will be made for the changes to be introduced from April 6.

During that time, police will still enforce parking, a Suffolk Highways spokesman confirmed.

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs at Suffolk County Council, said it would address the frustrations of residents who suffered from poor parking in their neighbourhood. Picture: SIMON LEEAndrew Reid, cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs at Suffolk County Council, said it would address the frustrations of residents who suffered from poor parking in their neighbourhood. Picture: SIMON LEE

Tim Passmore, Suffolk police and crime commissioner, has been vocal about the delays in the changeover - which was meant to happen a year ago but was delayed by Brexit dominating the Parliamentary timetable.

"I am absolutely delighted to see progress being made at last," he said.

"There has been quite a delay in getting this sorted, so it is great to finally have a date for implementation.

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"The council-run parking teams will, without doubt, provide more effective parking enforcement than the police because it will be their main focus - we have seen this in Ipswich where parking enforcement was de-criminalised some years ago.

"Moving the responsibility for parking to local authorities will free up police time for them to deal with more urgent issues, which makes perfect sense and that is why I committed £190,000 from the constabulary's reserves to help establish the scheme."

The change is expected to bring about tougher enforcement, as stretched police services cannot currently dedicate time or resources to the issue.

Councils will have specialist teams for parking, who can also monitor problem spots.

Currently, Ipswich Borough Council is the only authority in the county to hold parking enforcement powers.

Crucially, money collected from parking fines can be retained by the councils and put back into services, rather than having to be sent to central government as police have to do.

Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways at Suffolk County Council, said: "Civil parking enforcement powers will soon sit with our district and borough councils across Suffolk. It is essential in enabling our communities to have closer management of their local parking challenges.

"A lot of residents come to us with concerns that people parking in their towns and villages are becoming more inconsiderate, and something needs to be done about it - we agree, and as a result are committed to seeing these parking issues managed locally to ensure fair and safe parking for all.

"I very much welcome the cross-council collaborative working in order to deliver better parking for the residents and those visiting Suffolk. Our colleagues will continue working together to ensure CPE is successfully launched and I look forward to seeing the benefits locally that these changes will bring."

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