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Gravesend man guilty of assaulting traffic warden

By Chris Hunter

A man from Gravesend has been prosecuted for assaulting a traffic warden.

Simon Hawkins, of St James Avenue, was found guilty at Maidstone Magistrates’ Courtof common assault and a further separate offence, not related to the officer, of racially aggravated public order.

Gravesham council’s Civil Enforcement Officer was assaulted in an unprovoked attack in April 2017 in St James’s Avenue, Gravesend, suffering minor injuries.

Stock photo
Stock photo

Mr Hawkins was found guilty and was given a Community Order for 12 months with 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and was ordered to pay £100 compensation.

Councillor Alan Ridgers, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: "The safety of our officers is paramount and we will not tolerate any level of abuse or physical attack.

"Thankfully these incidents don’t happen very often but if they do we will work with the police to deal with the offender appropriately.

"This is a clear example that we take any attack on our Civil Enforcement Officers very seriously and this prosecution shows that we will not tolerate people being violent against our staff who are there to carry out enforcement of parking restrictions throughout the borough.”

The council has nine CEOs who patrol the borough to enforce the parking restrictions and keep the roads safe. In July last year CCTV body-worn cameras were introduced to reduce the risk of any attack and help to settle disputes over fines. In this case the camera was instrumental in identifying Mr Hawkins and provided enough clear evidence of what happened to be able to take the case to court.

Cllr Ridgers added: "The cameras reinforce the officers’ safety, but there is never an excuse to assault or abuse public servants who are just doing their jobs. These officers do an important job, helping to keep our roads safe and enabling people to find somewhere to park in busy areas. There is an easy way for motorists to avoid a penalty notice – just park legally."

Gravesham Borough Council's parking services team enforce on-street and off-street parking restrictions such as on School Keep Clear, double-yellow lines, limited waiting and disabled parking bays on behalf of Kent County Council, as well as council owned car parks.

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