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Revealed: How many parking tickets police REALLY issue in Elgin

The Press and Journal has scrutinised the figures and looked at the rules to examine how Moray Council paying the police to enforce parking rules will work.

Two police officers on Elgin High Street.
Police will soon be on the beat monitoring Elgin town centre parking. Image: DC Thomson

Moray Council has announced it will now pay the police to tackle illegal parking in Elgin, but how many tickets do officers issue already?

Cars mounting the pavements, stopping on double yellow lines and driving across the Plainstones have been mounting issues in the town centre.

Enforcing offences on the streets is solely within the power of the police.

Illegal parking on Elgin High Street.
Multiple cars parking on the Plainstones is a common sight. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

However, officers say they do not have the manpower to respond effectively enough to provide a solution to the problem.

Moray Council has now confirmed it will spend up to £10,000 from the Elgin common good fund on paying the police to tackle parking.

How much do police already enforce parking in Elgin?

Police say complaints about parking problems in Elgin are one of the main issues they receive messages about.

They say that officers are able to issue fines and warnings when they are able to.

However, they stress that responding to incidents where there is a risk of harm remains their priority.

Figures published by the police in response to a freedom of information request from the Press and Journal showed they issued 130 fines in the town centre in 2023 – an average of about two or three per week.

The statistics show operations peaked in June, when 37 fines were issued. Meanwhile, in March and October no penalties were issued at all.

When the Press and Journal took to the streets in December we saw 14 cars parked on the pavement and 17 on double yellow lines in just five hours.

How will paying police to monitor Elgin parking work?

The decision by Moray Council to pay the police to enforce parking rules in Elgin will be for up to six months.

Funding from the UK Government’s £20 million for “run down towns” will then be available with the Poundland works also believed to be nearing completion.

Pedestrians and traffic on Batchen Street in Elgin.
Cars often mount the pavements on Batchen Street. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

Paying the police will involve the Elgin common good fund paying for overtime hours for officers with an agreement their principal responsibility will be to enforce parking rules.

However, they will still be required to respond to other emergency situations if required. In that situation, the council would not be billed for those hours.

Initial proposals have suggested paying for an average of 25 hours enforcement per month focussing on Batchen Street and the Plainstones, which is the equivalent of about one full day per week.

‘Current council parking attendants not able to enforce pavement parking’

Questions were asked this week about why current council parking attendants, who issue tickets in pay and display car parks, were unable to issue fines for pavement parking.

Officials warned it would cost an extra £65,000 a year for additional staff with income from fines unlikely to cover the costs.

Three cars parked on pavement on Elgin High Street.
Pavement parking at the west end of Elgin High Street happens multiple times a day. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

Nicola Moss, the council’s head of environmental and commercial services, said attendants were unable to simply issue fines while walking between the car parks they patrol.

She said: “I understand the attendants are walking between car parks but you have to take into account a period of observation, the driver could be nearby, we have to be mindful of the interaction with the driver.

“It isn’t just a two-minute activity to issue a ticket.”

Mrs Moss added it was also unclear whether parking on the pedestrianised Plainstones on Elgin High Street was covered by the pavement parking ban due to uncertainty abou

Growing parking worries in Elgin

There have been growing calls for enforcement action from the police, council or any organisation to tackle the parking concerns in Elgin.

Elgin Community Council chairman Alastair Kennedy said: “We really need the police to do something at the moment.

“Although my understanding is it’s very difficult for them in terms of resources.

“We need to bear in mind that this is only a short-term solution though. We can’t afford to let this go.”

Moray Council leader Graham Leadbitter
Elgin South councillor Graham Leadbitter says parking problems in Elgin are a serious safety issue. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Elgin South councillor Graham Leadbitter said the new Town Board established to spend the “run-down towns” money would likely install traffic bollards as a “quick win”.

It is also hoped the end to the Poundland works and reopening of North Street could resolve some of the issues.

Mr Leadbitter added: “Pavement parking is probably one of the most significant issues in terms or risk and danger to the public.

“There’s a significant safety issue on Batchen Street where cars are driving on the pavement 2ft away from the door of a licensed premises.

Mock up image of three traffic bollards outside Costa on Elgin High Street.
How traffic bollards could look on Elgin High Street. Image: DC Thomson Design.

“There are signs inside the door encouraging people to be careful because of vehicles driving on the pavement. No premises should have to do that.”

However, Elgin South councillor John Divers has concerns whether the issues will resolve after the Poundland works stop.

He said: “I remember being given assurances when Batchen Street was pedestrianised that the only vehicles allowed there will be for offloading or onloading.

“Yet, here we are. We seem to be in a bit of a muddle about the situation there.”

What happened when the Press and Journal monitored Elgin parking for a day

One every three minutes: I ‘hand out’ £10,000 in fines in just one day in Elgin as I hit the streets as a traffic warden