How to Prevent Unauthorised Parking and Abuse in Your Car Park

Unauthorised parking and abuse can create all sorts of problems for landowners, businesses and customers alike. From loss of revenue and traffic congestion to crime and site damage, abuse of your facility can stack up if it goes unchecked. And while there are plenty of methods that can help you curtail or eliminate abuse entirely, not all operations or facilities managers will be aware of their rights when it comes to combatting the practice of unauthorised parking.

As well as what kind of legal recourse is available to you, we’ll detail the best practices to take that will help you and your business reduce – or completely prevent – parking abuse across your facility.


Legal approaches


It may surprise you to know that if you’re having problems with unauthorised parking then getting in touch with the police or your local authority often proves fruitless, because parking on private land is not considered an offence, it’s a civil matter. The police do not have resource or the power to deal with most issues like this, while local authorities only have the ability to stop unauthorised parking if it occurs on a car park that’s covered by relevant by-laws or is a health and safety risk.

clamped wheel, by canon 400d

Additionally, as of 2012, threatening to clamp the wheels of improperly parked vehicles is no longer an option. The Act of Parliament, The Protection of Freedoms Act states “makes a number of changes to the law related to parking on private land. It bans vehicle immobilisation and/or removal without lawful authority, and provides private landholders with additional powers to pursue the registered keeper of a vehicle for unpaid parking charges providing certain conditions are met.”

As a result of this legislation, those businesses who actually adhere to it may find that they have greater difficulties with preventing misuse. Clamping on private land is illegal in England, Wales and Scotland (where it hasn’t been legal since ’92): so, you can’t rely on the authorities because of this.


Enforcing parking rules


The laws of contract and trespass

Though the enforcement of parking on private land isn’t regulated by law, there are still routes that you can pursue. The laws of contract and trespass still apply, which means you can still put up adequate signage that indicates, clearly and visibly, that there is no parking without authorisation. Anyone caught parking without the appropriate authorisation will then face sanctions for their violation.

City Street, Looking, Security Camera, Security System, Street

Automated number plate recognition (ANPR)

From security concerns to ticket fraud, ANPR can benefit your car park if it’s being misused. As a means of improving a site’s security, it can keep tabs on your site 24 hours a day, recording footage of everyone that comes and goes at all times. This makes the technology extremely helpful in criminal cases, providing valuable evidence and information that can be used later in an investigation if needed.

It can also serve to lessen the administrative strain on car park owners. Instead of employees having to deal with handling, managing and challenging complaints, ANPR does this for you, providing inarguable proof when the time comes to make a case against unauthorised users, without the financial drain it would typically take to deal with such issues.

By keeping track of who enters and exits the site, the technology that ANPR deploys matches each vehicles’ number with its own records, determining which motorists are legitimate and if appropriate whether they’ve paid. This serves to combat any loss in revenue generation your car may be falling prey to.

Cars in the parking lot in row

Online parking space booking systems

To ensure your spaces aren’t going to unauthorised users, offering an online booking system means that legitimate customers won’t lose out. For customers, it offers them flexibility when it comes to payment, while it also minimises the opportunity for abuse as it ensures that people pay for the duration they’re parked for too.


Keeping your car park secure

Without the appropriate security and enforcement, car parks suited to all kinds of different sectors leave themselves open to abuse in a big way. If you’re a retailer, then the lack of safety could mean a significant loss in footfall. For those you work with meanwhile, an unsafe site risks the security of your employees and their belongings on a daily basis. Safety is critical and should be prioritised by all business owners.

We work alongside our clients to achieve the Safer Parking Scheme’s ParkMark status on their site. A symbol of safe and secure parking in the UK, ParkMark strengthens the security of car parks through police assessments of all aspects of the site, from lighting, accessibility and lines of sight to the presence of crime prevention and detection technology.


ParkingEye is the market leading provider of ANPR on private land. Looking to prevent misuse and abuse in your site? Head over to our car park management solutions page for more information, and get in touch with us today!

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