As I sat down at the annual British Parking Awards in London (UK) last month, one particular category caught my attention: The Front Line Award.
The organizers announced that the new category was created to reflect the unfortunate hostile climate faced by those working on the ground in the parking industry in the UK.
The reason this category especially stuck in my mind was that I have closely followed changes in the terminology used to describe parking attendants. For many years, they were called traffic wardens and the general public seemed to accept that while they would also issue parking fines, their main role was to keep traffic moving in the city. Was it no coincidence that at the same time that their name changed to civil enforcement officers, the public began to see them as confrontational? Soon after their title change, the British public realized that they now had the power to issue large fines for parking. This, I think is where the aggression began.
This new award certainly seems to support this theory, as does the winner’s job title: Jade Glover is a hate crime ambassador for APCOA Parking. Sadly, part of her daily routine now includes carrying a DNA swab kit in a bid to prosecute more common and aggravated assaults.
In the event Jade is assaulted, she can use one or more dry swabs to extract saliva from her skin or uniform and report her attack to the local police. This can then be matched against 6 million records in the national DNA database.
How sad that someone who is dedicated to making our streets less congested now resembles an extra from CSI. What do you make of it? I look forward to reading your comments below.