When John puts on his uniform and takes to the streets of East Sussex, he has no idea what the reaction will be. In just one week, two of his civil enforcement colleagues needed hospital attention after being attacked by members of the public.
You’d be forgiven for thinking incidents like these were rare. In the last year alone there were 40 incidents including 8 physical assaults, 15 verbal attacks and 13 cases of a member of the public making threats.
“I know it’s not me, it’s the uniform,” John told Your East Sussex. “But you do worry when you go out and you dread it when you hear someone calling out to you.
“Luckily most of the time it’s someone asking a question or wanting directions.”
In 22 of the incidents last year, and the two recent attacks, police had to be called, while colleagues had to provide urgent help in 18 other cases.
“We have a good team; we are always there to support each other.” John said. He has suffered many verbal attacks, has been driven at, surrounded by friends of an angry driver and hit.
Civil Enforcement Officers are employed to enforce parking restrictions in the Eastbourne and Hastings boroughs and the Lewes and Rother districts.
Keeping traffic flowing
As well as keeping traffic flowing by keeping roads clear, ensuring people park safely and sensibly prevents emergency vehicles from being slowed down by parked cars.
John said: “We will always give people a chance to move and give them alternative places where they can park.
“We don’t want confrontation; we just want to keep traffic flowing.
“A lot of people think we have a quota. We hear that a lot but there is no quota – if you park where you shouldn’t and don’t move, you’ll get a ticket.”
But despite the approach of John and his colleagues, they still face regular abuse and put their own safety on the line every time they step out onto the streets.