Civil enforcement officer

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Not to be confused with Civilian enforcement officer.
Law enforcement
in the United Kingdom
Types of agency
Types of agent
Statutory Instruments

A civil enforcement officer (CEO or colloquially traffic warden) is a person employed to enforce parking, traffic and other restrictions and laws in England & Wales. In England, they are employed by county councils, London Borough Councils, metropolitan district councils or Transport for London, and in Wales by county (borough) councils - or private companies contracted by any of the above. Until the passage of the Traffic Management Act 2004, on-street parking and traffic movement violations were enforced by non-warranted police traffic wardens employed by constabularies. Off-street parking violations were enforced by parking attendants employed by local authorities and private companies.


Civil enforcement officers may only exercise their functions when wearing a uniform authorised by the Secretary of State.[1] They may issue Penalty Charge Notices for numerous offences, either via a hand-held device or CCTV. They may inspect and confiscate blue badges. They may interview motorists suspected of disabled badge fraud under caution.[2][3] They may immobilise vehicles.[4] Penalty charge notices are not criminal proceedings, and failure to pay will result in certificated bailiffs serving warrants of execution.[5] They may issue penalties for several moving violations, among them driving in bus lanes, executing prohibited turns and driving the wrong way on a one way system. They may penalize for failure to display valid road tax.[6] Increasingly civil enforcement officers employed by some authorities issue fixed penalties for non-traffic offences using the Community Protection scheme of the Police Reform Act 2002.[7] This range of offences include environmental crime such as fly-tipping and spitting, as well as anti-social behaviour like noise violations and truancy, in addition to issuing tickets for parking and traffic violations.[8]


In Belgium Municipalities use Stadswacht(en) (City Guard(s) these public but civil officials can be compared to Civil Enforcement officers and can only write reports that are send to a magistrate who decides if according to the findings of the guards report i fine will be issued. In Belgium a Stadswacht can be recognized by the purple jacket they wear.

The Netherlands[edit]

In The Netherlands Municipalities used Stadswachten until 2004, these officers were Public civil servants who patrolled the city but had no power to fine civilians. These days Stadswachten don't exist anymore and the Guard departments were changed in to Handhaving (Enforcement) units. Unlike the British City Wardens, Handhavers (Enforcers) do not have civil status but are fully public officials and have limited police powers, all these officers are sworn BOA (Special Enforcement Officer) and have the powers to detain people to confirm their identity, search people for proof of identification or offensive or dangerous weapons (if arrested), investigate offences and certain crimes, issue fixed penalty's, make warrantless arrests and use force with or without the use of weapons (baton, pepperspray). Most Municipal enforcement officers (BOA) are equipped with handcuffs. Some city's also issue police batons to their officers. According to Dutch law some BOA's can be equipped with pepperspray (City of Utrecht and Amsterdam in 2016) and a handgun (City of EDE and Enschede) if the necessity is proofed by the city council and mayor. Also BOA's working for the Dutch Correctional Services (Dienst Vervoer en Ondersteuning) who do transportation an guardduty's for the Dutch Prisons are equipped with baton, pepperspray and a handgun. They also support the Dutch policeforce whenever and where ever it's needed. Failure to comply with an order given by a BOA can result in arrest. In most city's BOA's wear police like uniforms ( blue or dark grey trousers with black piping on the legs, peaked hats and yellow or black jackets) An majority of large city's also use BOA bike patrol, Motorcycle units, vehicle patrol in marked cars .

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