Police urged to halt hounding of traffic wardens in Coalisland

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Police officers should be deployed to help under-fire traffic wardens in Coalisland, a senior politician has urged.

DUP MLA Maurice Morrow made the call after a traffic warden was forced to flee from the East Tyrone town last month, prompting a review of their role.

The warden’s hasty exit, which was made after just half and hour, was due to verbal abuse.

However, the Department of Infrastructure has revealed that the attack was not reported to the police.

It was disclosed earlier this year that drivers in Coalisland have not received a single ticket from parking attendants for six years in a row.

Lord Morrow, who has been pushing for the deployment of traffic wardens in Coalisland, described parking there as a “free-for-all”.

“It is a disgrace that traffic attendants have been hounded out of Coalisland simply for doing their job. However whilst the attendants in question are trained in conflict avoidance, I would have assumed any such activity would and should have been reported to the PSNI”, he said.

The DUP representative warned that by not involving the police a dangerous precedent had been set.

“Is it going to be the norm across Northern Ireland when irate motorists object to enforcement measures they simply hurl abuse at traffic attendants who withdraw and no action is taken?

“The attendants in question should have immediately alerted PSNI to allow such activity to be dealt with appropriately. It is after all a criminal offence to act in an intimidatory or threatening manner. It was enough to cause a halt on traffic enforcement and put attendants at risk.

“This sends out a very dangerous message of placation, which runs against any zero tolerance policy of abuse. I will be asking the Minister to detail instances of abuse against traffic attendants in other areas, to ascertain if PSNI have been called in elsewhere under similar circumstances.”