GALLERY: Parents weep as police crack down on illegal parking outside Fenland school
PARENTS wept this morning as police swooped to crack down on illegal parking outside a Fenland primary school.
Six officers converged on Cavalry Primary School in March, dishing out parking tickets and breathalysing drivers during the morning school rush.
PC Phil Richardson told his officers to adopt a zero tolerance policy on illegal and anti-social parking and speeding - urging them to be “firm, friendly and fair”.
Four tickets were handed to drivers, two negative breath tests were returned and 30 vehicles were moved on and advised about dangerous parking.
But one tearful mother, Tracy Band, criticised the police approach, which she branded “heavy-handed” after picking up a �30 fine for parking opposite a junction.
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She said: “I know the police are doing the right thing and I agree with the principle because I want my girls to be safe. But I just feel that they victimised people this morning instead of coming and explaining to them what they should do.
“There were three police officers stood on the path when I parked. All three of them let me get out of the car, drop my kids off and then gave me a ticket.
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“They could perhaps have done the parents a service today, explaining things to them rather than slapping fixed penalty notices on cars.
“At the moment I don’t think we know where we stand and I just think the police have been a bit heavy-handed. They could have done more to help people with what they should and shouldn’t do - particularly when there are no markings on the road.
“There’s a way and a means of dealing with people and I don’t think they got it right today.”
The safety impact day was a response to a host of complaints from concerned parents about the dangers of the nearby roads, with daily chaos during school runs.
Cavalry head teacher Val Spriggs said there had recently been an accident where a bus had hit a parked car. “The area around the school is a very dangerous place,” she said.
“The children are no longer safe to walk to school on their own - it curtails their freedom. It’s very difficult for young children to be safe without their parents.
“It can be really frightening. I always ask parents to move when they park in the bus way, it’s not my job and when I do speak to them some are abusive and many ignore me.
“I write to the parents regularly asking them not to bring their vehicles down the drive, not to park in the bus way and to be considerate.”
Police spoke to drivers parking too close to junctions, in the bus stop and across residents’ driveways - using special cameras to capture evidence of illegal parking.
One mother was fined after stopping in the bus way to drop her child off. Her friend said: “She’s just pulled up because her younger daughter was ill and she had to drive to school.
“She’s had to park here longer to talk to the police than she would have done if she’d have just dropped her off. It’s absolutely pathetic.”
Another frustrated parent pleaded for a designated drop-off zone. She said: “We literally need 10 seconds to see our kids safely across the road. It can be a nightmare just to get your children to school in the morning.”