Thousands could get parking ticket refund after police cock-up

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THOUSANDS of motorists could potentially have their parking tickets refunded after the city’s police force admitted it had issued as many as 16,000 notices in error.

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Members of the public have paid more than £485,000 to the courts after being fined for illegally parking by Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who did not have the power to give the tickets.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle said it was only when the force reviewed PCSO powers five months ago that the error came to light.

He said: “West Yorkshire Police carried out a review of PCSO powers in March 2015, at which time we discovered that PCSOs had not been correctly granted powers to issue non-endorsable Police Fixed Penalty Notices for parking offences.

“This was due to an anomaly in the way that powers can be allocated and meant in effect that PCSOs were not empowered to give tickets issued to vehicles illegally parked.

“We would like to emphasise that no PCSOs knowingly acted beyond their powers and they believed, as did the Force at that time, that they were acting correctly.”

He said the force had appointed PCSOs and then granted them traffic warden powers to issue tickets to illegally parked vehicles.

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When it reviewed the powers, it realised road traffic legislation meant the force should instead have appointed traffic wardens and granted them PCSO powers, so they could give the fines.

ACC Battle said: “We want to reassure the public that this issue was addressed as soon as it came to light and are liaising with our partners in HM Courts and Tribunals Service about how to resolve matters regarding affected motorists.

“We will publish further details in relation to this on our website www.westyorkshire.police.uk as soon as possible. In the meantime we ask those who believe they might be affected to await further guidance.”

Update: Five arrests after Bradford to Leeds police chase crash