Furious motorist drives over enforcement officer's foot

Enforcement officer walking

Acts of violence, aggression and serious verbal abuse have all been experienced by Canterbury City Council enforcement officers in the past six months.

Acts of violence, aggression and serious verbal abuse have all been experienced by Canterbury City Council enforcement officers in the past six months.

In some cases the incidents have taken place while the officers were trying to keep pupils safe after reports of dangerous parking by parents outside schools.

The abuse also takes place online with people taking to social media. One post in the past year encouraged people to “deck” enforcement officers “in the face as hard as you can”, claiming “there are many people who will pay for your lawyers if you are caught”.

Enforcement officers patrol the district issuing fines to motorists that break the rules and cause congestion, as well as people who throw litter. They also investigate flytipping and graffiti and deal with the arrival of travellers.

Canterbury City Council Chief Executive Colin Carmichael said: “Keyboard warriors and a small minority of those issued with tickets seem to think our enforcement officers are fair game and unleash a torrent of vile abuse.

“They are accused of being thieves, bullies, little Hitlers and failed police officers. And these are the slurs we can repeat. Then there is the violence and the threats of violence they face day in and day out for simply doing their job, which is to help keep the public safe.

“They deserve our full support and we will not hesitate to use the full force of the law against those whose actions mean our enforcement officers are constantly looking over their shoulders.

“Our officers are honest and hardworking people from all walks of life, including the Armed Forces, who are determined to improve the quality of life for all of us.

“Most people are grown-ups and will join me in thanking them for the difference they make while doing what is a thankless task in all weathers, day in and day out.”

In the past six months, serious incidents have included:

• A driver who ran over an enforcement officer’s foot in Northgate car park, Canterbury, after being issued with a parking fine

• A driver who drove a van at an enforcement officer after returning to find they had been issued with a parking ticket in Link Lane, Canterbury

• A mum who snatched an enforcement officer’s handheld computer before throwing it at them narrowly missing a child outside a school in Kings Road, Herne Bay. Later another parent drove past accusing the officer of being a paedophile

• A driver who shoved and threatening an enforcement officer several times after receiving a parking ticket before heading back into a pub in North Street, Herne Bay

• A driver threatening to kill an enforcement officer after receiving a parking ticket in Orchard Street, Canterbury

Head of Safer Neighbourhoods, Douglas Rattray, said: “What these people fail to realise, when 99% of people do, is our enforcement officers are tackling some of our most-complained about issues. They try to put a stop to littering, try to catch the vandals who daub graffiti and try to prosecute the flytippers who spoil our countryside.

“At the same time, parked cars that break the rules have a huge impact on other motorists by causing congestion, creating danger in and around the school gates, stopping buses and dustcarts getting through, and could pose a serious problem for the emergency services who are racing on blue lights to save lives.

“The queues they cause also have a detrimental effect on air quality.

“In the past year, our enforcement officers have given first aid at road accidents and other incidents, found lost children and vulnerable adults, helped rough sleepers, prevented suicides and jumped into a river to save someone from drowning.”

Published: January 17th 2020