Reigate & Banstead Borough Council wants to take over police powers to deal with vehicles causing an obstruction – such as the blocking of pavements meaning pedestrians can’t pass, or driveways.
The borough’s parking team already enforces other parking rules, such as double yellow lines, on behalf of Surrey County Council who took that role over from the police several years ago.
But the power to deal with obstructions has remained with the police. Now the council wants this to come to the borough’s Joint Enforcement Team (JET).
The JET, with six council staff, already tackles matters such as anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and abandoned vehicles. Two police officers, who help JETs across Surrey, are also members.
The new power would not extend to general anti-social parking, but only obstruction.
The process to transfer powers has been taking a while – in recent meetings some councillors have expressed frustration at the pace of progress.
It seems four things are still needed: a formal application from the council; a Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner report to Surrey’s Chief Constable; training for council officers; and a revised protocol between JET and the police.
A spokesperson for Reigate & Banstead said this week that the transfer was mooted around a year ago, adding:
“We are in the process of requesting [the] powers for the Joint Enforcement Team (JET) and the request is with the police.
Our JET officers will require additional training. We would hope to have this in place by summer.”
A spokesperson for the Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner’s office said:
“[We] have been in regular contact with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council regarding the additional police powers for the JET team.
Those in the JET team are currently in the process of being reaccredited and having been through training and revetting, the next stage is for the council to submit a formal application to the Chief Constable of Surrey Police.
It is important to stress that the JET is still operating as normal and the police powers will be an addition to the toolkit already available to the team to tackle local issues.”
“Give us the powers”
One of those who has been keen to see progress is Cllr Jonathan Essex, who at a committee meeting at the start of this year flagged difficulties he had encountered in getting the police to use their parking powers. He told Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner David Munro:
“There are issues of parking locally and if the council can’t deal with them I think it’s important that the police still deal with them – or perhaps, maybe, you can give us the powers for the JET team and give us some money so we can carry out the duties for you.”
Mr Munro said the transfer was a complicated legal process, but that he was happy to take a further look.
Cllr Essex then pressed him on the timing, saying the transfer had been discussed “over the years”: Mr Munro told the January meeting that he couldn’t provide a timeline, but that he wanted it to happen “as soon as possible”.
- A Reigate & Banstead guide on who to report parking problems to can be found here.
- David Munro was elected as Surrey Police & Crime Commissioner in 2016 (as a Conservative)
- Cllr Essex is a (Green party) county and borough councillor for Redhill.
- Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is Conservative-run.
Top image credit: MikesPhotos via Pixabay
Edited for clarity 23 March 2018, and to clarify staffing of JET