A furious cyclist claims he has been treated “extremely harshly” after being fined £80 by private enforcement officers for breaching the Bridge Street cycling ban.
Greg Ambarchian from Stonebridge, Orton Malborne, received a fixed penalty notice (FPN) last month by officers from controversial firm Kingdom Services Group, who are employed by the city council.
The 29-year-old said he had stopped cycling before entering Bridge Street from the direction of Long Causeway, but was standing on a single pedal to slow his bike down. He said he may have gone “three or four metres” past the no cycling sign in this way before fully dismounting, only to be fined.
Mr Ambarchian flatly denies that what he did amounts to cycling and claims he has yet to receive video of the incident captured on body cameras despite requesting it to see if he can prove his innocence.
He said he feels he has been “extremely harshly” treated by Kingdom who receive £45 for any tickets that they issue.
He stated: “I spoke to a policeman and a council employed enforcement officer the next day and both told me it sounded very harsh and they would not have given me a fine in the same situation as they would have used their own discretion.”
The letter Mr Ambarchian received about his fine said he had no right of appeal under the law, although Kingdom told the Peterborough Telegraph he can challenge the ticket in court.
He added: “It seems unfair that a fine that can be issued in two minutes by someone working for a private company and with a vested interest in punishing people should take so long to challenge.”
A spokesman for Kingdom Services Group said: “Any footage can be requested if they complete a SAR (subject access request) form.
“The avenues to appeal or not to appeal would be in the legislation as opposed to Kingdom’s rules.
“They can make a representation to the council.”
Cllr Irene Walsh, council cabinet member for communities, said the representation and appeals process is clearly explained in FPNs issued by Kingdom. She added: “We understand how the enforcement for issues like cycling can be viewed as excessive, but as a local authority we are trying to take a measured and proportionate response to an issue that has generated concern in a busy pedestrianised area.”
Several councils have recently broken or not renewed their contracts with Kingdom amid accusations its staff use aggressive tactics.
The firm recently agreed a new two year deal with the city council to continue patrolling the city centre and an area covering Millfield, New England, Gladstone, Eastfield, Lower Bridge Street and the Embankment.