TRAFFIC wardens have been told not to police resident parking zones (RPZ’s) near Fratton Park due to fear of violence from upset football supporters.
The News can reveal today that Portsmouth City Council instructs its civil enforcement officers (CEOs) to not monitor nearby zones when Pompey are playing due to the ‘undue risk’ it places on its staff.
It is very disappointing to hear that there is this attitude towards football supporters in the cityCouncillor David Fuller, ward member for Fratton
An email seen by The News from within the council’s transport team states that CEOs are not told to police areas, such as the GA parking zone in Fratton, as it puts the staff in a ‘high risk situation.’
The revelation has led to criticism from ward councillors who say residents who buy parking permits for the zone, should be made aware that the area won’t be policed on match days.
Councillor David Fuller, Liberal Democrat ward member for Fratton said it was ‘unacceptable’ that residents were not told.
He said: ‘Traffic wardens are not fulfilling their duty by not policing these streets on match days. It is ridiculous.
‘Does that mean people will be able to get away with it all the time now and more cars will park there on match days?
‘It is ridiculous.’
The former Lord Mayor added that football fans were being ‘discriminated’ against by the council’s decision.
‘It is very disappointing to hear that there is this attitude towards football supporters in the city,’ he said.
‘For me, I do not believe we have a problem with football fans in Portsmouth.
‘How would they tell the difference? If a person parked their car there longer than the two hours and was not wearing a club scarf or hat, then how would they know its not a football fan? They are being singled out by this and it is unacceptable.’
Independent ward councillor Julie Bird said she had regularly received multiple complaints from residents about problems with parking in Fratton on match days.
She said: ‘Whilst it makes perfect sense to not want to endanger traffic enforcement officers, I do think that perhaps the residents in the affected areas should be made aware of this.
‘When residents signed up to the new GA zone in Fratton, many residents listed match day parking a primary reason for wanting a residents’ parking scheme.’
The e-mail discussed a scenario where fans would park up in the GA zone – which covers all roads southbound off St Mary’s Road down to Walmer Road for an evening game at 7.15pm.
It read: ‘It is 9.45pm and people are returning to their vehicles, often groups of males who may or may not be upset with the result of the match. This puts the CEOs at undue risk as the police are unable to accompany or guarantee the safety of the staff. For that reason, I will not put the CEOs in a position that is clearly a high-risk situation.
‘I have a duty of care to the staff of this service to ensure all risks are minimised. By putting them in undue risk, it would put Portsmouth City Council in an expensive position if an attack did take place, and would make it extremely difficult to recruit CEOs.’
For the council, Councillor Simon Bosher, cabinet member for traffic, said: ‘The priorities for our officers are the safety of road users and keeping the main routes in the city flowing.
‘Given the increased pressure on our road network on match days, all our available resources are allocated to these aims.
‘We also have to balance the need for enforcement against the risk of an officer being involved in a physical confrontation.’