Dread the school run? It's about to get a whole lot worse

by Paul Francis

Parents who park in restricted areas when they drop off their children at school could be handed on-the-spot fines under powers being given to PCSOs.

Kent Police are to allow PCSOs to issue fines to errant drivers who ignore restricted zones - usually marked out by zig-zag lines or double yellow lines - in the morning and when they collect children at the end of the school day.

The initiative is one of a growing number to try and tackle a rising problem of congestion outside schools and disruption to traffic.

Parking restrictions are a problem for parents at many Kent schools
A hotline has been set up to tackle problem parking

The rush to get to school on time is often seen as one of the most stressful periods of the day for parents. Congestion around school gates can often spark arguments among parents and residents whose drives can get blocked.

The Kent chief constable Alan Pughsley said the move to give the force’s 200-plus PCSOs the power to fine parents was one of five additional powers he had decided to grant.

In a statement, Kent Police Chief Inspector Andy Gadd said they would be using powers to issue fines normally reserved for councils.

For many parents driving to school is the only option

“This power has not yet been implemented and is currently going through a review process to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

“As with all new powers, officers will follow a training plan to ensure they understand this new role and to prepare them for their duties.”

Kent crime commissioner Matthew Scott said he backed the idea of fines for parents: “I have been contacted by several councillors who tell me parking outside schools is an issue.

Zig Zag lines and cones near a school. Stock image

"If we can help those local communities to keep our roads safer by giving PCSOs the power, it is something that should be considered.

“There is a wider responsibility on organisations to promote better parking around schools but ultimately parents should be responsible for not creating hazards.”

The power to issue fines to parents is expected to come into force by the end of the year.

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