Queen of parking tickets retires

Oxfordshire County Council’s head of parking enforcement, Helen Crozier, is to retire after nearly 30 years of helping keep traffic flowing.

And Helen, 63, says that is what the job is all about. “Illegally parked vehicles add to congestion and we are primarily here to keep traffic flowing,” she said.

“Parking enforcement is an emotive issue. When people find out what I do for a living I do get their parking ticket stories, everybody seems to have one.

“And I’m always asked if there is a way of avoiding paying when if the charge has been correctly issued. There isn’t, even if you are the Lord Mayor of Oxford.

“But like I tell every intake of enforcement officers, it’s not all about issuing tickets. If they can move a vehicle on without ticketing that’s all to the better.”

And there isn’t much she doesn’t know about parking enforcement. “I started at the very bottom, and worked my way up not only with the council but with the British Parking Association.”

Helen became a director of the UK’s umbrella organisation for parking in 2008, served as president in 2013/14 and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2018 British Parking Awards for services to the industry.

And although she has a ticketless driving history her husband of 45 years did have one brush with her department. “He went through a bus gate in Oxford,” she said. “He’s never done it again. And he paid it.”

Helen now intends to spend more time in her caravan and with her three grandchildren.