Zero tolerance of abuse towards council staff

A motorist who racially abused a Civil Enforcement Officer has been fined hundreds of pounds by magistrates after Merton Council took action to remind people they will not tolerate abuse.

The incident happened on 29 November 2016 in Belvedere Avenue, Wimbledon after the officer had issued a Penalty Charge Notice to the motorist’s vehicle. The officer’s body-worn camera recorded the incident, which was reported immediately to the Police.

The defendant pleaded guilty at Wimbledon Magistrates Court on 15 December 2016, to charges of racially aggravated intentional harassment and the use of threatening abusive words. He was fined £600 and ordered to pay £100 compensation to the Civil Enforcement Officer. As the defendant pleaded guilty it was not necessary to show the body-worn camera footage in court.

Merton Council will not tolerate abuse or aggression towards its employees and will take action where necessary to prosecute those who act inappropriately.

Council employees should be able to carry out their duties without fear of abuse. The council’s parking enforcement officers play an integral part in keeping Merton moving and ensuring motorists are obeying the Highway Code.

They are equipped with body-worn video cameras for their own personal safety and to act as a deterrent to acts of aggression or verbal and physical abuse towards them. Footage from incidents where motorists display threatening behaviour will be used as evidence to prosecute perpetrators.

Merton’s cabinet member for street cleanliness and parking, Councillor Ross Garrod said: “The council operates a zero tolerance policy on physical and verbal aggression towards council staff by members of the public. The safety of parking staff is of utmost importance and they should not be fearful of carrying out their duties enforcing parking restrictions. We are committed to being open and transparent in our parking enforcement and to being firm but fair so that we can tackle congestion, one of our residents’ top concerns.”

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