TRAFFIC wardens have returned to the streets of Gosport.
After years of no on-street parking enforcement, Gosport Borough Council and Hampshire County Council have struck a deal with Hampshire Police.
They have each agreed to fork out £15,000 a year for the police to reintroduce parking patrols.
Before police employ a full-time traffic warden, officers have already started patrolling hotspots to fine those who flout the law.
Council leader Mark Hook said it was about time those who abused the system were caught out.
He said: ‘It’s a massive issue. I’ve had complaints from people of vehicles parked in one-hour bays for weeks.
‘There are 500 one-hour parking bays around Gosport town centre and I would encourage people to use them legitimately.
‘People are parking on double yellow lines and on corners and that’s why we want to see a traffic warden.
‘It’s not about parking, it’s more about the safety of the public.’
Gosport Borough Council is powerless to enforce on-street parking in the town because it is the legal responsibility of the police.
It means enforcement of on-street parking can only be done by police officers or traffic wardens.
Many of the town’s roads have one-hour parking restrictions which were not being patrolled.
Cllr Hook said he believes Hampshire Constabulary are looking to bring in a permanent traffic warden around March.
Then after a two-year trial period, the two councils’ arrangement with the police will be reviewed.
Fareham and Gosport’s Chief Inspector Jason Kenny said: ‘The Gosport Borough Council area is an anomaly within Hampshire in that it is the only area in the county not to have gone through a decriminalisation process for on-street parking offences.
‘Therefore, responsibility remains with Hampshire Constabulary for parking offences in on-street parking areas of Gosport.
‘Policing of on-street parking offences will always be a challenge for local officers, when set against competing demands on their time such as dealing with vulnerable people, high risk incidents and catching criminals.
‘Hampshire Constabulary is working with Hampshire County Council and Gosport Borough Council on the best approach.’