Rise in parking officer abuse

Newcastle City Council in New South Wales has registered a spike in attacks on parking officers and rangers by the general public.

Newcastle City Council interim Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Bath has called for more respect to be shown to the city’s officers after a spate of physical and verbal attacks.

In the past two years there have been more than 40 incidents where parking officers were physically intimidated and verbally abused.
Many of these incidents involved high levels of aggression with a number referred to the police for investigation.

In one incident, a female parking officer narrowly escaped being run down by a car that swerved deliberately at her while she was on a pedestrian crossing.

In another recent attack, a person told two parking officers he was going to cut their throats, while another female officer was verbally abused and stalked by a serial offender from Wharf Road to Merewether Baths.

Other parking officers have been threatened with screwdrivers or have had eggs thrown at them.

“This kind of behaviour is cowardly and completely unacceptable,” Mr Bath said. “Our staff are simply doing their jobs.

“Parking officers serve an important function for our city. As well as keeping children safe around schools, they ensure parking spaces are turned over to allow the public fair access to businesses, and they help ensure traffic safety for all road users.

“I understand that getting a parking ticket is a frustrating experience – I’ve received a few myself. But blaming, let alone assaulting, a parking officer merely doing his or her job enforcing our parking regulations cannot be allowed to occur under any circumstances. Council will not hesitate to refer these attacks on to police.”

In the past two years, there have been nine attacks on our officers that have resulted in injury.

Mr Bath said he was concerned by the nature of the attacks on personnel even as the city adopted a more conciliatory approach to parking enforcement.

“I understand finding a car park can sometimes be a stressful experience, but nothing excuses physical or verbal violence towards another person,” he said.

“If you break the rules and get caught or your dog is off a leash or involved in an attack, don’t take it out on a parking officer or Council ranger.

“Being a parking officer or ranger is a thankless task that frankly is one of the toughest jobs in the city.”