COUNCILS should be in charge of parking enforcement across Oxfordshire and not the police, according to Thames Valley Police's top cop.

Francis Habgood, the force's chief constable, told Cherwell councillors they should seek to take responsibility for enforcing parking restrictions from his officers as soon as possible.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are already looking at whether they would be able to take on the job, which is currently held by the police.

Mr Habgood said: “Decriminalise it. I understand there are other districts that are keen to do that.

"We want to. Decriminalise it please.”

In Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council is currently in charge of enforcing parking matters.

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The county council is also responsible for other agreements in Henley and Abingdon, arranged with its town councils, and another arrangement with South Oxfordshire for on-street parking in Wallingford.

Councils are responsible for the management and enforcement of rules in their car parks.

Back in July, Liberal Democrats in South Oxfordshire and Vale districts asked their colleagues to look at whether parking could be decriminalised. It was widely backed at council meetings.

In the Vale, plans to take on parking responsibility were debated four years ago but councillors decided not to take the plan any further.