Dangerous parkers who put the lives of children and other road users at risk are being warned to toe the line or risk being prosecuted under an innovative new scheme.

Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen, in partnership with Durham Constabulary, Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council and primary schools in County Durham and Darlington, has launched ParkSafe – a new initiative allowing the public to send video footage of illegal parkers direct to the police as part of a crackdown on the issue.

The pilot will initially operate at three schools – Red Rose Primary School in Chester-le-Street, Escomb Primary School in Escomb, Bishop Auckland, and The Rydal Academy in Darlington – and people will be able to upload videos of offending vehicles via a QR code to be assessed and triaged by experienced traffic officers.

Anyone who is found to have committed dangerous parking offences including blocking pavements or parking too close to a junction or on or close to a pedestrian crossing will be dealt with appropriately. This could include the offer of a mandatory educational course which will result in prosecution if the driver does not participate.

Both councils will also use their powers to direct their patrols for lower-level parking offences.

It follows a growing number of complaints across the county about illegal parking outside schools which is putting pedestrians and other motorists in danger.

Safer Roads is a key priority in the PCC’s Police and Crime Plan, and she is working proactively with partners on a host of projects to tackle the issues that threaten the safety of all road users.

Commissioner Allen said: “Illegal parking is an issue that is raised time and time again during my meetings with local people. I understand how worrying and frustrating it is for residents and the wider school community when drivers continually flout the law, putting children, and other road users in jeopardy. This is not acceptable behaviour and will not be tolerated.

“The new pilot will empower the public to become the eyes and the ears of the police and to take positive action to address these problems and make the roads in their communities safer. My hope is that it will also act as a strong deterrent and prevent further instances of dangerous parking in the future.

“ParkSafe is an example of partnership working at its best and shows just how seriously we view these problems. Road safety is a public priority – and therefore my priority. We continue to look for new and innovative ways to get the message across so that the public can enjoy our roads safety however they travel. Nowhere is this more important than outside our schools.”

Earlier this month, the Commissioner announced funding for free pouches to motorists to help prevent mobile phone distractions at the wheel and tackle car theft thanks to funding by Police and Crime Commissioner Joy Allen.

The PCC has invested £1,000 into Faraday Pouches. The pouches work by containing electromagnetic signals from phones to prevent motorists being distracted at the wheel. They can also help protect against rising keyless entry car theft, reducing the chance of the vehicle’s signal being amplified and replicated by an electronic tool used by thieves to unlock the vehicle.

Inspector Kevin Salter, from Durham Roads and Armed Policing unit said: “The scheme is aimed at targeting a small minority of individuals whose inconsiderate parking causes huge risks.

“We regularly receive complaints about dangerous parking around schools. This is preventable. It is not about punishing people or dishing out penalties, this is an opportunity to reduce the risk of a collision and keep children and pedestrians safe from harm or injury.

“It is hoped the scheme, supported by local schools, will cause a change in behaviour and make the area around schools safer for everyone.”

To report parking issues as part of ParkSafe visit: https://beta.durham.police.uk/ro/report/rti/rti-beta-2.1/report-a-road-traffic-incident/