Confrontation and conflict

1 Jan

Why is the violence towards traffic wardens accepted? In Bradford there were about 80 incidents of violence against wardens in 13 months with the police being called in on 26 occasions including 16 incidents of physical assault. In 2009 Channel 4 reported on ‘shocking levels of racist abuse and violence inflicted on London’s parking wardens’ and even death threats. Back in 1996 a row over a parking ticket near the centre of Birmingham turned into a full-scale riot involving 200 stone-throwing youths and 80 police officers. In 2010 traffic wardens abandoned issuing tickets in one part of Southampton because of fears of their safety. What is the figure nationally I wonder and what it is cost in police time?

This state of mind is well presented by the sorry tale of ‘celeb’ Ingrid Tarrant’s outburst after being challenged by a police officer for parking in a bus stop. Unfortunately… she didn’t help herself by then driving off and resisted arrest. She was convicted of an impressive collection of offenses including: unnecessary obstruction, wilfully obstructing a Pc, resisting a Pc and failing to stop. She was fined £2,700 with £1,200 costs. Not content with that she appealed, lost and received a further £750 costs. The appeal judge said “She has been able to persuade herself that she was in the right and the officer was in the wrong and that self-deception enabled her to believe what she had said.”

Self deception seems to be a big part of this, encouraged no doubt by the way that cars are sold as symbols of virility, power and status.

On a lighter note, one driver who had been fined again and again for parking offenses unwisely told the world via a windscreen sticker that ‘he hated traffic wardens just like everyone else’. He found that it only resulted in more attention from wardens and yet another ticket!

I hate traffic wardens sticker

Personally I get the impression that the pressure on this one is building up year by year with the relentless rise in the number of vehicles on the road.

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