Civil Enforcement Officer, Role and Origins

Civil Enf Officer in action Civil Enforcement Officers began back in 2008 under the Traffic Management Act which superseded the Road Traffic Act 1991.

This job has been going 10 years but is not popular, which is why the pay is a definite step up from Supermarket workers, petrol station workers and so on.

Although CEOs may issue PCNs for several moving violations, among them driving in bus lanes, executing prohibited turns and driving the wrong way on a one way system this does not seem to be their regular work. Instead CEOs are used in the main for enforcement of our well known yellow lines and lesser well known Residents' Parking bays and Loading Bays.

It's a tough job, it always has been. A town without CEOs will quickly grind to a halt but even a town with CEOs is rarely grateful. It is the CEOs who keep the High Streets moving but they cannot win can they? The motorists who refuse to park in the nearby "pay and display" and take a chance, are furious when they find a PCN has been issued , after all, they were only five minutes!

This is how the arrival of CEOs was reported back in 2008 by the Evening Standard :

DAVID WILLIAMS : MOTORING EDITOR :Monday 31 March 2008 09:03

It is the end of the road for parking attendants as we know them.

They are now called "civil enforcement officers" and come complete with new powers - and uniforms - thanks to the Traffic Management Act, introduced today.

To highlight their position as the "eyes and ears" of the council, Westminster unveiled their new look.

Gone are the peaked cap, blue ribbed jumper and yellow fluorescent vest that struck fear into the heart of drivers.

Instead,Westminster's CEOs wear a baseball cap and bomber jacket with high-visibility silver stripes. As well as handing out parking tickets, they will assist if the public are worried about anti-social behaviour, report suspicious activity, make a note of vehicles without tax discs and try to prevent car crime by alerting drivers who forget to hide valuable items when parking.

If they witness any crimes, they can be called on by police to give evidence in court.

But the new Act, which replaces the Road Traffic Act 1991, also allows CEOs to issue parking fines by post if they are unable to fix the penalty to the car. The first time a driver will know of the alleged offence is when the ticket lands on their doormat.

Civil Enf Officer in action Critics say this will encourage dishonest CEOs to "hide in bushes" so motorists cannot see them, before sending a ticket by post - even if drivers were obeying the rules. Motorists would have little chance to gather evidence, or even recall the event.

While most councils are expected to issue such "drive away" tickets ,Westminster said it would not. London Councils, which represents all boroughs, said all fines would need supporting evidence.

Supporting evidence; Yes that little matter of "proving it in court." Whereas in the old days , the traffic wardens could rely on their precious notebook, many CEO Employers have grabbed the new technology with open arms. Digital cameras are not that expensive to issue their CEOs with and were never meant to replace the CEO's notebook but photographic evidence is particularly convincing in Court. This is why we often see a CEO taking photos of an offending vehicle in situ. This is comparable with the system of Automatic Bus lane/ Speed Cameras, the offender is sent a photo by post and that often results in prompt payment too. This all adds to the responsibilities and processes of a CEO but don't forget, the job is paid well in comparison to much of the other High St jobs on offer.

Getting supporting evidence, tolerating your standard level of abuse and not rising to it is all part of the role, someone has to do it. You only have to look at the ensuing chaos that quickly mounts in any town without CEOs. People soon realise that there is no "come back" to leaving your car on double yellows and bit by bit the whole town is going nowhere fast. There have been several such cases reported in the press, not a pretty sight.