*KLAXON* Rant Alert!
On Sunday I parked my car on the road near my house. As it’s a semi-busy road leading to farmland between our village and the next it often has tractors and large farm vehicles coming by, so I parked half on the pavement and half on the road so as not to cause too much of an obstruction. I hadn’t parked in this spot before, but there were no yellow lines or ‘no parking’ signs, and there was still plenty of room to get by on the pavement as it’s quite wide. Most people round here park like this, and although mine was the only car in this stretch, there were other cars parked half on the pavement and half on the road about 20 metres further along down the road, and there are ALWAYS cars parked on the pavement on our (quite new) housing development because the house builders decided everyone needed only one parking space on their drive (because, of course, we all only have one car, don’t we?)
On the Monday, I headed over to get in the car to go out, and found a neatly folded A4 printed note under my windscreen
Please be advised that it has been noted you have parked half on the road and path for more than 24 hours. As this is a) against the law to park like this and b) this is a Neighbourhood Watch area therefore kindly remove your vehicle as soon as possible.
Thank you for your cooperation.”
The busybody who put the note on the car didn’t even have the audacity to put their name to it. As far as I could see, I wasn’t causing any harm to anyone parking like I did. Hardly anyone walks down this stretch of the road, as a little further past our house it turns into a country lane with no other houses, and no pavements. So I duly moved the car off the pavement and fully onto the road (now causing quite an obstruction, in my view, to passing vehicles). I don’t know who wrote the note, but I have a feeling it was the owner of the house’s driveway I’d parked next to. I wasn’t even very near to their driveway, but I’m assuming they were disgruntled because they couldn’t see easily to exit their drive. What a shame for them. Fancy me parking on a public road, with no yellow lines. What a liberty. And I didn’t know that the Neighbourhood Watch now controlled parking in the area. Silly me.
I had a rant about it to DH and he kindly helped compose this BRILLIANT letter, which I’m sending to the Chief Inspector of Police and the Local Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator. Seems, according to my research, that we don’t even have a Neighbourhood Watch representative for our area. Strange.
Chief Inspector xxxxxxxx
District Commander for xxxxx Area
Dear Inspector xxxxx
It has been brought to my attention through a note left on my car windscreen on the 1st August (enc), that my local branch of Neighbourhood Watch have taken over responsibility for the enforcement of minor parking offences.
I am a regular follower of the press but must admit I have missed the announcement about the transfer of power. I can only assume this change has come about as a direct result of budget cuts forced upon our hardworking police force by current and previous governments.
As this announcement passed by without my notice, can you please explain the extent of the new powers of the Neighbourhood Watch? Should I, for example, contact them in the case of burglary, muggings, and more serious crimes such as rape and murder? Presumably for these more serious offences the Neighbourhood Watch plan to form a vigilante mob armed with burning torches and pitchforks to bring about swift justice without the need for police involvement.
I would also be grateful if you could pass on the helpline number for the Neighbourhood Watch so that I can report any future offences direct to them without the need to trouble the police force as the author of the enclosed note has neglected to include this vital information.
Clearly in this case the response time from the start of the alleged offence to the delivery of the anonymous letter to my windscreen was impressive at a little over 24 hours, however I worry that the actual parking offences which I have witnessed in the area may not be being dealt with a similar speed and anonymity. I am aware that the police are required to provide statistics of response time and conviction rates; will the Neighbourhood Watch publish similar figures? Can you provide details of where these can be obtained?
I am also aware that the police are monitored very stringently in regard to their policing of ethnic minorities, clearly as the police have now devolved some of their power to the Neighbourhood Watch, will they also be subjected to this monitoring to ensure minorities are not unfairly targeted? I would be grateful if you could provide details of how this monitoring has been enforced and whom I should contact to obtain details of the number of warnings issued by the Neighbourhood Watch, broken down by ethnic group.
Mrs M Lancaster
.cc xxxxx xxxxx, xxxxx Area Coordinator, xxxxxx and District Neighbourhood Watch Association
I wonder if I’ll get a reply. Hmm. So, Victor Meldrew rant now over. Continue about your business. ;)