THERE are few jobs as thankless as that of the traffic warden. Although they are undoubtedly performing an important public service, they can expect very little in the way of public appreciation. On the contrary, resentment and ridicule are frequently their lot.
However, while no one likes receiving a parking ticket, it is one thing to seethe quietly in indignation and quite another to abuse a hapless parking attendant who is merely doing his or her job.
The shocking findings of this newspaper, however, are that this happens all too frequently. Indeed, according to the figures, hundreds of attendants are being verbally abused, and even physically attacked, across the Yorkshire region every year.
Of perhaps even more concern is the fact that very few of those who commit these offences ever face justice because local authorities do not know who the perpetrator is and have little evidence of the crime other than the attendant’s own testimony.
This is why it is encouraging that traffic wardens in Leeds are now wearing shoulder-mounted cameras which can not only provide evidence to back up prosecutions but also act as a deterrent to any angry motorist tempted to launch an assault.
In the absence of drivers taking responsibility for their own frequently selfish parking, or realising that parking restrictions are often dictated by the need to ensure public safety, such measures are unfortunately necessary – along with a willingness by courts to take firm action against offenders.
Meanwhile, in the many clear cases where parking policies are driven solely by local authorities’ desire for cash and are consequently helping to drive much-needed shoppers away from town centres, the correct way to protest is to contact the councils who actually make the rules, not to take frustrations out on those who merely enforce them.