The Constabulary has undertaken a review of the employment contracts of PCSOs, given recent findings by other forces that some PCSOs may not have been in a position to issue certain types of fixed penalty notices for parking offences.
As a result of this review, the Constabulary has identified that an administrative error meant that a number of PCSOs were not authorised to issue certain types of parking tickets. These contracts were issued during two periods – prior to 2006 and then after 2010.
Records for fixed penalty notices go back to 1st January 2007 and we estimate that some 1,600 tickets were issued by PCSOs without the contractual authority to do so. Once the anomaly was identified, we instructed PCSOs not to issue fixed penalty notices. It should be noted that this relates solely to non-endorsable Police Fixed Penalty Notices for parking offences and not to those tickets issued by local authority staff.
No PCSO acted knowingly beyond their powers in issuing parking tickets to motorists, nor did the organisation knowingly permit PCSOs to issue tickets in the absence of an ability to do so. Indeed, appropriate and extensive training was delivered to all PCSOs to provide them with the knowledge and training to issue these tickets. This was an administrative error relating to some contracts for employment.
The terms of the affected PCSOs have now been brought in line so that all are now able to exercise the appropriate powers, and this power has now been reinstated.
We have thoroughly reviewed our position and, following legal advice, we do not propose to reimburse those individuals who may have been given a fixed penalty notice by a PCSO without the contractual power. By paying the fine, motorists have admitted their liability for the parking violation; and administratively, the force cannot confidently identify those who may have paid the parking ticket. All money from parking tickets is paid directly to the courts it does not come to the Constabulary.
Whilst we are confident that all fixed penalty notices were issued in good faith, the Constabulary wishes to apologise for the uncertainty this has generated.