Following concerns raised by local residents Thames Valley Police is increasing the level of enforcement to deal with illegal parking in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse.
The District Councils have both publicly stated their intention to apply to decriminalise parking across the area. This is one of the very few areas of the country that has not already done so, and across the Thames Valley police area they are the only two districts that do not have either decriminalised parking or make a contribution to support the police in their enforcement work.
Decriminalisation would mean that responsibility for enforcing on-street parking restrictions, such as double-yellow lines, would fall to the council rather than simply being a matter for the police.
In response to concerns from the public this issue has been taken up by Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, and raised with both the local area commander and the Chief Constable. The outcome has been increased targeted enforcement by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) as an interim measure while the councils go through the legal processes to take on responsibility for parking themselves.
Commenting on the initiative Matthew Barber said: “There are many competing demands on the police and they have rightly been focussing on issues such as reducing violence, burglary, rural crime and the drug trade. Nevertheless in the absence of any other enforcement local residents are understandably concerned about the impact of illegal parking on road safety, traffic flows and local businesses.
“I am delighted that Thames Valley Police are embarking on a targeted enforcement programme in South and Vale to fill the gap whilst the Councils pursue decriminalisation. I have written to both district councils and town councils in both districts to highlight this new effort by the police and asking them to look to provide continuing support to the police to allow this to continue.”
Neighbourhood Inspector, Nick Cain, added: “Our message to the public is to please park legally or you may be subject to an initial fine of £30. Illegal parking is not only dangerous but diverts precious police resources from their core role.”