The parking operator at the centre of a scandal into photo evidence tampering at a Lincoln car park has been disciplined by the British Parking Association (BPA).
As revealed first in The Lincolnite, UK Parking Control (UKPC) admitted that several of its employees had doctored photos and fined motorists illegitimately in Lincoln and across the country.
Local residents had spoken of their anger at fines they had received from the Tritton Retail Park, which they said were completely unjustified.
A former warden working for the company also spoke out about the practice of altering timestamps in order to make it look like motorists overstayed in the car park and fine them.
UKPC belatedly issued an apology, confirming that “a limited number of pictures of vehicles, at a small number of car parks, have had their timestamp altered by a few of our employees,” and that anyone incorrectly fined would receive a refund.
The operator added that disciplinary action was in progress in relation to the employees found to have been evidence tampering.
New parking operators code of practice
Since then, the BPA has concluded an investigation into the allegations made against UKPC, and has disciplined the company in accordance with its Scheme of Sanctions.
The BPA did not disclose the exact sanctions applied but said that its investigations “highlighted the need to update our Code of Practice, to make it absolutely clear that the practice of offering financial incentives to parking attendants/wardens which relate to the quantity of penalty charge notices issued by them is wholly unacceptable.”
The updated Code of Practice comes into effect from October 1 and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has been kept informed throughout the process.
The DVLA itself is carrying out its own audit following concerns raised about offering financial incentives to parking wardens.
An extension to the grace period at the end of the paid for parking time or after the expiry of a free parking period, to a minimum of 10 minutes, will also come into force from October 1.
This brings private car parks into line with car parks run by local authorities who are required by law to observe a 10 minute grace period in the same circumstances.
Patrick Troy, CEO of the BPA, said: “We want to make it easier for motorists to park in whichever car park they use when they go about their daily business. By making private car parks as similar to local authority ones as possible life becomes much simpler for the motorist.
“The BPA is committed to encouraging and developing the highest standards of professional conduct and ethics within its membership. The BPA Code of Professional Conduct sets out the standards expected of those working in the profession and all BPA members commit to the code when they join the association.”