Bourne ultimatum leads to fob off


On Monday, October 31, Kenneth Bird, one of the directors and founder of Rye News, finally exasperated by the apparent lack of will on all sides to try and solve the town’s parking problem, sent the following email to Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne:

Dear Katy Bourne,

You cannot be unaware of the daily traffic chaos on the streets of Rye as a result of police failure to enforce parking restrictions.There is a state of lawlessness prevailing in the town which is dangerous both to life and property. The situation is described in the pages of Rye News.

We strongly urge that you revisit your prioritisation of resources to address this issue.

Yours sincerely,
Kenneth Bird

On Tuesday, this reply was received:

Dear Mr Bird,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with Mrs Katy Bourne, Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner who has asked that I respond on her behalf.

Mrs Bourne understands the importance that the residents of Sussex place on road safety, which is a key feature in her Police & Crime Plan. She also acknowledges that parking remains a constant challenge for many residents in Sussex, not least those in Rye and has been in discussion with Councillors and the police on the decriminalisation of parking regulations across the Rother and Wealden Districts.

The introduction of the Road Traffic Act (1991) and the decriminalisation of parking offences means that the enforcement of parking on the roads and highways throughout most of Sussex is the responsibility of the Local Authority.

I would like to forward your email onto your local District Commander, Chief Inspector Ross, to contact you regarding this matter as Sussex Police continue to work in partnership with the Local Authority in regards to this and she will be able to give you more information as to the progress of discussions. Please let me know that you would be happy for me to do this.

In addition, I would like to make you aware of Operation Crackdown. This is a joint initiative run by Sussex Police and the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) which provides the communities of Sussex with an opportunity to report specific instances of anti-social driving on the roads. This enables Sussex Police and the SSRP to develop intelligence regarding repeat offenders, vehicles, times and locations which can then be used to plan, target and deploy police resources. If you have any specific information about anti-social driving, please visit the Operation Crackdown website ( to report this. Alternatively, you can call 01243 642222 during office hours.

I hope this information is useful and thank you once again for your email, it is much appreciated.

With regards

Sarah Tibbott
Administration and Correspondence Officer
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Office

[Editor’s note: We will, of course publish any information we get from Chief Inspector Ross. In the meantime the PCC is now asking for an extra £5 to be added to the Council Charge to allow an additional 100 police officers to be trained in specialist disciplines such as youth crime etc. There is no suggestion, however, that this money will fund any change in their attitude towards illegal parking, about which they have declared their intention to do nothing, thereby hoping to force councils such as Rother (and RDC is now finally considering this) to adopt Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), thus removing the responsibility from the police altogether].

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  1. Why would the attitude of the police change ? As stated parking offences have been decriminalised. However, they have offered the avenue of reporting anti-social driving through Operation Crackdown and consequent action against repeat offenders, even if that may only be a reprimand. Parking in restricted areas, whilst not illegal, is a form of anti-social driving – especially if it restricts the use of road and pavements for others – so I suggest that all the non-offending residents of Rye bombard the police with reports to Operation Crackdown. Of course, I suspect many won’t as that would mean they would no longer be able to abuse the system themselves without fear of retribution.

  2. The Police, quite properly, set up speed controls from time to time in New Winchelsea Road. Why is it not possible for that team to move on into Rye itself and book offending parkers, especially those who park (regularly) on double yellow lines? If offenders thought they might be booked, they might be less willing to break the law.

  3. Always sad when officaldom ducks the issue by quoting out of date law. These words are taken from the Department for Transport website: ‘Part 6 of the the Traffic Management Act 2004 (TMA) provides for the civil enforcement of most types of parking contraventions. It replaces Part II and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1991.’

    Unfortunately, responsibility for parking enforcement was only mandatory for London boroughs, elsewhere it is for the local authority to take on CPE and Rother have not done so.

    Again, the DoT guidance states ‘sets out the policy framework within which the Government believes that all English local authorities, both inside and outside London, should be setting their parking policies and, if appropriate, enforcing those policies.

    So it all comes down to whether Rother think it ‘appropriate’ to enforce parking policies in Rye.


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