Police officers and firefighters were out in force last week to tackle inconsiderate and illegal parking outside schools in East Northamptonshire.
The week of action saw a fire engine driving through numerous streets including Victoria Road in Irthlingborough, Wharf Road in Higham Ferrers, Market Road in Thrapston and Wymington Road in Rushden to demonstrate the dangers posed by parking inconsiderately.
Over the past few months, parking outside schools in the area has been poor with cars parking on yellow lines and zig-zags, cars parking on the path forcing wheelchair-users to use the road and cars parking too close to junctions or in front of entrances. A couple of months ago, a little girl was hit by a car in the chaos of school pick-up time. Thankfully she escaped with only mild injuries.
Warning letters have been distributed to vehicles parked illegally however officers have been met with negativity from parents and carers who feel that their illegal parking is somehow justified.
PC Paul Mitchinson, said: “Issues with school parking is something we hear about a lot and it has been especially bad in this area over the past few months. We wanted to do something about this before someone is seriously injured.
“There really is no excuse for parking illegally when there are areas nearby to safely park up in.
“If there was an emergency in the area and a fire engine or emergency services vehicle was unable to pass through, by parking illegally, these people are literally putting lives at risk.
“I hope this week of action has demonstrated the dangers of inconsiderate parking and that people will park more considerately in the future – it’s really not that hard.”
Watch Manager Rob Berwick, from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We hope carrying out this exercise will help emphasise the point of just how important it is to park considerately everywhere, and particularly around schools.
“Not only does poor parking pose a potential danger to pupils and other pedestrians but it can also cause access issues for our fire engines.
“Parking is an issue at many schools around the county and I would urge everyone who carries out the school pick-up or drop-off to think twice when parking, to stay away from double yellow lines and areas elsewhere on the road where their vehicle could pose a danger or an obstruction.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold, said: Our priority is to protect children coming in and out of school.
“They have a right to arrive at school and be collected safely, without the added danger of being knocked over due to illegal parking.
“Whilst we would like to resolve this matter sensibly with the support of parents, I fully endorse the use of enforcement action against those who consistently ignore our appeals.”