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Parking Controller or Traffic Warden? 28 March 2005

The Department of Home Affairs has announced that it will not be collecting parking fines issued before 24 March 2005 as a result of the legal ambiguity which arises from the use of the name Parking Controller instead of Traffic Warden.

Under Section 33 of the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1985 the Department of Home Affairs was provided with the powers to appoint Traffic Wardens. In 1989 the appointment of the first two Traffic Wardens took place and at this time a decision was taken that they should be known as Parking Controllers in place of Traffic Wardens. However, consequently, when the Department employed subsequent Parking Controllers they should have been appointed as Traffic Wardens.

The term 'Parking Controller' had no specific legal definition at that time. However, on examining previous documentation it has become evident that the appointments were not clearly and specifically as a Traffic Warden but that of Parking Controller. The intention of the Department, and indeed its understanding, was that employees were to be empowered as Traffic Wardens but designated as Parking Controllers.

The Department has now become aware that further confusion may be caused since the introduction and enactment of Section 33A of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 1985, in 2001, which specifically created the role of 'Parking Controllers' whose powers and functions differ to that of a Traffic Warden and who are appointed by the Department of Transport.

Legal advice has been received which in effect means, bearing in mind the ambiguity surrounding Parking Controllers current status, that, as a precautionary measure, they were requested to cease carrying out the functions of Traffic Wardens. It is possible that the manner of their original appointment did not specifically empower them as should have been the case if the appointment had been unambiguously as a Traffic Warden, and designated as such.

The Department has, therefore, in order to remove any ambiguity specifically confirmed their appointment as Traffic Wardens, as of midnight on 23rd March 2005, pursuant to Section 33 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1985. This does not effect their terms of employment, conditions, pay or benefits. It will, however, clearly provide their authority to act as Traffic Wardens and permit them to continue to issue fixed penalty notices and discharge the other functions and powers conferred on Traffic Wardens, under the Function of Traffic Wardens Orders 1989 and 1993 as they have previously done to date.

The public will notice a change to the uniform in as far as Parking Controller will be replaced by Traffic Warden on the labelling of the uniform as of today 24th March 2005.

The Department has also instructed General Registries staff, due to the ambiguity, not to pursue the collection of fines that were issued previously by Parking Controllers. Fixed Penalty Tickets issued from and including the 24th March 2005 will be unaffected and payments of fines will be due in the usual way.

Any member of the public who has any concerns about the above matter should NOT approach the Traffic Wardens, but should instead either seek further information by phoning from 4pm today (694318) 24 hours a day or write to the Chief Executive Department of Home Affairs, 88 Woodbourne Road, Douglas.

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