Albrek was among gang who pursued wardens from Broadway
A thug who carried out a violent attack on a traffic warden in Fulham has been sentenced to six months in jail.
Omar Albrek, 23, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty in Isleworth Crown Court on Monday October 29 to the assault occasioning actual bodily harm in July last year, while he was out on bail for aggravated burglary.
Albrek, who is already serving a seven-year jail term for that offence, was sentenced to 26 weeks in jail for the assault on July 11.
Albrek was part of a gang that followed two traffic wardens, also known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs), from Hammersmith & Fulham Council after he had been issued with a parking ticket for leaving his car on double yellow lines in Fulham Broadway.
Albrek was asked to move the car and given five minutes’ grace, but when he refused, the CEOs issued him with a ticket. He then argued with the wardens but when they told him there was nothing they could do, got in his car and followed them into nearby Fulham Road, where he again confronted them.
Albrek continued to pursue the CEOs into Halford Road where, half an hour later, they were both set upon by up to 10 men who emerged from three cars.
One of the CEOs was punched and kicked to the ground, and was left with a broken nose. The officer needed surgery for his injuries and was forced to stay off work for several weeks.
The CEO, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: "Had they got us down a side street, which was their intention, I think they would have stabbed us. At least now I have got some justice."
Cllr Greg Smith, cabinet member for residents’ services, said: "This was a vile and planned attack on decent people just doing their job. Our CEOs, who came back to work at the earliest possible opportunity despite their injuries, are an absolute credit to themselves and the council.
" This is in complete contrast to Albrek, who is a thuggish, violent criminal. Thankfully the streets are a safer place with him behind bars following this horrific and planned attack."
Hammersmith and Fulham Council says violent assaults and abusive and threatening behaviour on CEOs has significantly decreased since they began wearing "jacket cams"– video cameras that can record footage for up to eight hours at the flick of a switch.
In September, H&F Council became the first local authority to introduce these cameras and, in the first two months of using them, "code red" situations have been cut by 87.5%.
A code red incident is where a CEO is assaulted or thinks they are about to be assaulted. Before the cameras were brought in, the council regularly recorded three or four code reds each month, but that has dropped to just one.
The cameras have served as a preventative measure, with only ten recordings having been made in the same period. CEOs have also reported that issuing a warning to motorists that the camera is being turned on has helped to immediately defuse threatening situations, preventing an attack.
The 65 cameras, which sit in a harness attached to the traffic warden’s high-vis jacket, not only act as a deterrent to would-be attackers, but also give police vital video evidence to help convict criminals who threaten or assault officers. The lightweight Reveal Media RS3 body camera is weather resistant and water-proof, records in high definition and has an automatic microphone that captures clear audio.
The decision to introduce the cameras came after a sharp rise in the number of assaults on traffic wardens in recent years. In H&F, the number of verbal and physical attacks on parking wardens has more than doubled since 2008, with officers reporting three or four dangerous incidents every month. In 2010-11, 69 serious incidents were reported – that’s more than one attack, verbal or physical, a week.
November 5, 2012