Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) FAQs

How long does a Civil Enforcement Officer have to observe my vehicle for before issuing a PCN?

In 2015 a regulation was introduced which meant that drivers who parked in compliance with the requirements of a parking bay, by either paying to park or taking advantage of a free parking period, became entitled to 10 minutes grace after the expiry of their parking, before a PCN could be issued. This is called the statutory grace period. It does not apply to those who forget to move their vehicle before the start of enforcement hours.

For all other contraventions a PCN may be issued as soon as it appears to a Civil Enforcement Officer that the vehicle is parked in contravention, although in circumstances where an exemption such as loading or unloading might be taking place, we would generally expect an observation period of three minutes to be given. 

Although observation periods are not mandated by law, we do encourage them as this reduces the amount of work involved in requesting evidence and cancelling a PCN after it has been issued.

rating button