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Naveed Anwar Mirza, traffic warden in Waltham Forest
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a traffic warden

James FitzGerald

…according to Naveed Anwar Mirza, 47.

There’s no target or incentive to issue more parking tickets

‘Of course councils know that parking is a reliable money-maker, but that’s not my business. I do my job for a contractor. There’s nothing in it for me to go around issuing lots of tickets and making everybody angry. I do the work because I love it. Think what the city would be like if I didn’t exist! It would be even more messy than it is.’

Parking enforcement officers have a sympathetic side

‘A £65 parking ticket is a lot of money to many people where I work in Waltham Forest, so I use my common sense. I ask around to find the driver if I have to, and give them the chance to move their car. If I can get rid of a blockage and keep the traffic moving then my job is done.’

Some Londoners would rather lose their car than pay

‘Take their car to the pound, and they’ll just buy a new car. There was a Mercedes that got towed here recently with £3,700 of fines on it – the owner never bothered to pick it up. We also have a problem with cheap cars registered in Eastern Europe being parked without a care. Their owners know they’re hard to track down, and £400 to get another second-hand vehicle isn’t so bad.’

Traffic wardens get serious abuse…

‘I’ve been hit, spat on and had things thrown at me. Random passers-by will even prank me by pretending they own the cars I’m booking. Our body cameras help to stop some of the abuse we get every day.’

…and see some memorable things

‘I remember walking past a couple having sex in their badly parked car, windows steaming up. Me booking them was the least of their cares.’

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