A parking warden was admitted to hospital after being
attacked on duty in Auckland.
The assault is understood to have kept the warden in hospital
for about five nights before he was sent home this week.
Auckland Transport says it was the most serious assault on a
staff member since the agency took council parking officers
under its wing four years ago.
The warden was working in Kingsland last Thursday when he was
attacked from behind about 2.30pm. A pair of towtruck
operators, who heard a commotion from the warden's radio over
an open channel, rushed to his aid, as did a woman.
Super City Towing owner Craig Burrows confirmed two of his
drivers had responded to the Kingsland incident and found the
"They got a call over the radio that a guy was being
assaulted. Two trucks shot down the road to help him."
One of the drivers had recently towed another vehicle for the
parking warden, so when the call came in, he knew roughly
where to find the injured man.
An Auckland Transport spokesman "presumed" the officer was
writing out an infringement ticket when attacked, but could
not confirm that.
The organisation was supporting the warden, who was "expected
to make a full recovery".
A 59-year-old Kingsland resident has appeared in the Auckland
District Court in connection with the incident.
Peter Brenan Gallagher, whose occupation was listed on court
documents as a landscape gardener, faces a charge of wounding
with intent to injure.
He could not be reached for comment last night.
Auckland Transport chief operations officer Greg Edmonds
described the attack as "the most serious assault" on a
parking officer since the council-controlled organisation was
established in 2010.
Asked what effect the attack was having on other wardens, Mr
Edmonds said: "This is not a frequent occurrence."
But another warden, who spoke to the Herald on
condition of anonymity, said the situation relating to
violence was "certainly not getting any better. It always
happens - it's just part of the job."
An organiser for the Public Service Association, Glen Cooper,
said the warden had feared for his life during the attack.
He confirmed the warden was a member of his union, and said
he had not heard of such a serious attack on parking staff in
his 10 years of representing them.
That was despite a high level of abuse suffered by wardens in
the course of their work.
"Unfortunately, parking officers do bear the brunt of a
public attitude that you can have a go at them."
Mr Edmonds said security for Auckland's 150 wardens was
continually under review. There were parts of the city where
they always patrolled in pairs and security guards were hired
to accompany them after dark.
The wardens carry radios that transmit their positions via
GPS to Auckland Transport's new traffic management and
incident control centre on Queens Wharf.
Signals are sent every 30 seconds, or every 10 seconds if
they push distress or emergency buttons.
Asked why Auckland Transport was not equipping wardens with
small CCTV cameras, which some ticket inspectors on the
city's trains will soon carry on their jackets, Mr Edmonds:
"We are monitoring the Transdev trial."
He said the organisation was also keeping an eye on a trial
in Hamilton in which two cameras have been used for more than
a year by frontline staff including parking wardens and
animal control officers.
Auckland Transport says parking wardens receive varying
degrees of verbal abuse daily, with an average of six to 10
cases a month involving threats of violence or outright