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West Norfolk Council parking warden 'disciplined after being assaulted'

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A parking warden employed by West Norfolk Council faced disciplinary action after being attacked in the line of duty, it has been claimed.

Officials insist enforcement officers are equipped with the tools and training they need to deal with angry motorists who have been ticketed.

But the family and supporters of Rod Bucknell, whose assailant has now been prosecuted for assaulting him, claim the authority has failed to support him and far more should be being done to protect staff.

GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn. (2744084)
GV of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, King's Court Hq, Chapel Street King's Lynn. (2744084)

His wife Tara said: “I think they have behaved appallingly.”

Mr Bucknell, who is currently absent from his role as a civil enforcement officer on health grounds, was on duty in Heacham when he was assaulted on May 4 this year.

His assailant, Nicholas John Parkes, 49, of Station Road, West Dereham, was ordered to pay £100 compensation to him after admitting assault and threatening behaviour when he appeared before Lynn magistrates earlier this month.

Parking meter at Boal Quay (15890202)
Parking meter at Boal Quay (15890202)

An existing suspended prison sentence, which had been imposed for an earlier offence, was also extended.

But, despite the court action, Mrs Bucknell says disciplinary proceedings were subsequently brought against her husband over comments he made during the original incident, which were recorded on his body camera.

She believes the case should now be scrapped as a result of Parkes’ admissions.

She added: “The police were very happy to use it. If it’s good enough for them, I can’t see why it isn’t good enough for the council.”

More than 30 residents, business people and councillors have signed a letter to a senior council official supporting Mr Bucknell.

One comment described the lack of support for him from the authority as “disgusting”, while many described him as an “asset” to the area.

Independent councillor Paul Beal, who was one of the signatories of the letter along with Hunstanton’s other borough representative Carol Bower, said disciplining Mr Bucknell was a “step too far”.

He said: “I can assure you Rod does a superb job. He may be a stickler for the law, but if you park illegally, you pay the price. Why haven’t they come out and said it’s unacceptable?

Hunstanton hotelier Glenn Stephenson said the letter reflected the views of most town residents.

He added: “You go into a hospital or onto a platform at the station and you see signs saying you have to respect their workers, which is fair enough. You don’t want to see people hurt for doing their job and he’s been hurt twice, once by the council that should be protecting him.”

Council officials say they cannot comment on the specifics of Mr Bucknell’s case.

But in a statement, a spokesman said: “The borough council gives staff the tools to keep them safe when undertaking their duties.

“Our enforcement staff are trained in defensive tactics and equipped with radios or telephones to get assistance when necessary. A high proportion also wear body worn video cameras.

“The council does not condone any act of aggression or violence towards its staff. When instances occur against any individual it becomes a police and judicial matter.

“All council staff can seek support through our wellbeing processes.

“The borough council recognise that receiving enforcement action is not a pleasant experience.

“Established procedures are in place to enable individuals to challenge these decisions without the need to engage in aggressive or abusive behaviour towards our staff.”

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