NCP awarded contract to enforce parking restrictions in Northern Ireland

The government has today announced the National Car Parks Ltd (NCP) has been awarded the contract for enforcing parking restrictions in Northern Ireland.
This will allow the transfer of responsibility for parking enforcement from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to the Department for Regional Development, in the Autumn.

As a result traffic wardens will transfer to NCP.
In 2001 the PSNI stated its intention to withdraw fully from such enforcement to target resources on areas of greater policing priority, including tasks related to road safety.
The PSNI and Roads Service have been working in partnership since 2002 to take forward the process of changing parking infringements from being criminal offences to civil contraventions.

From August to October 2003 the Department carried out public consultation on the proposals to decriminalise parking enforcement in Northern Ireland.
The public consultation also set out the Department's intention to take powers to use advances in technology to assist in enforcement and to take powers to clamp or impound vehicles in certain circumstances.
The proposals received general support.

Making the announcement today, Roads Minister David Cairns said: "I am pleased to announce that following a rigorous procurement exercise National Car Parks Ltd, has been awarded the contract to provide parking enforcement and car park management services, now that parking enforcement will no longer be done by the police."

"NCP is one of the leading parking companies in the UK and I am confident that their expertise and experience in the parking industry, will ensure an efficient, high quality service is provided across Northern Ireland. The performance targets within the contract are all based on the quality of the service provided and not on the number of tickets issued.

He continued: "Roads Service will be working closely with NCP in all aspects of the contract to deliver our key objective for parking enforcement, namely, to reduce the number of illegally parked vehicles on our streets. This will in turn improve road safety, improve traffic flows and improve accessibility for all roads users."

"I am also pleased to announce that following an equally rigorous IT procurement exercise SPUR Information Solutions Ltd has been appointed to provide a computer system to process all parking tickets issued.

Mr Cairns added that the Roads Service has also started a consultation exercise on the conditions that must be satisfied before it can clamp or impound vehicles as a means of collecting outstanding parking debt, and anyone who has an interest in this area should comment on the proposals.

He concluded: "Finally, I can announce that Roads Service has made regulations setting the level of parking penalties that will be in force when the new enforcement operation goes live at the end of October this year."

Routine enforcement will be by the issue of parking tickets, while clamping and impounding will initially only be used to recover outstanding debt or in circumstances where persistent offenders are a problem.
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