Yesterday, the British Parking Association issued a statement that they have disciplined UKPC following their investigation of ‘timestamp tampering’ by their parking attendants.
What were the findings of the investigation and punishment you may ask?
We have no idea. The press release mentions nothing about the findings other than to say they have been disciplined according to their scheme of sanctions.
For those of you not familiar with the BPAs discipline scheme, it consists of a points
scheme similar to driving licences. For each breach the operator is issued a number of points, and if 12 points or more are accumulated during a calendar year, then the operator ‘may’ be referred to the BPA Council who ‘may’ decide to terminate the company’s membership.
Aside from the lack of certainty in the rules, the obvious criticism of the scheme is the lack of transparency. The points are not revealed publicly, so we have no idea whether UKPC have been issued 1 or 12 points, or whether they already had any points.
Whilst being embarrassing to UKPC, we question the value of this sort of punishment. It has not direct impact to UKPC’s finances. It reminds us of the scene from Team America when Hans Blix reveals his threat to Kim Jong Il if he doesn’t let him inspect his palace:
We will be very, very angry with you and we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are
Theoretically (taking the Code of Practice at face value and assuming no other transgressions), in 13 months time when the points are spent, the operator could commit a similarly serious breach and still continue to be a member.
It should be noted that the DVLA has separately decided to suspend UKPCs access to the DVLA database whilst the investigation is ongoing, although the details have not been published. For example, it is not clear whether UKPC will be able to retrospectively acquire keeper details once the suspension is over?
Given the level of seriousness and media attention this story has received, we would ask the BPA to confirm exactly what they have found and exactly what their punishment is.
Here’s that clip from Team America for your enjoyment…
Editor’s note: The analogy is not intended to suggest UKPC have, or intend to acquire, WMDs. Nor does it suggest that they would like to feed any BPA officer to sharks.