Police in 'habit' of parking breaches

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 27/12/2013
police
SNAPPED: The marked police patrol car outside Countdown supermarket on Rangitikei St last week.

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Palmerston North police have been given a slap on the wrist by a firefighter for parking in a car park reserved for disabled people.

Woodville firefighter Hayden Bodell photographed the marked police patrol car outside Countdown supermarket on Rangitikei St last week.

Mr Bodell lodged an "expression of dissatisfaction" through the praise and complaints page on the New Zealand police website.

His concern was quickly elevated, from national headquarters quality improvement manager Susan Campbell to Sergeant Mike Harris, from Palmerston North, to the city's area commander, Inspector Pat Handcock.

Mr Bodell asked whether the police were entitled to use a disability car park when their patrol car did not have its lights or siren on.

"I understand if this was an emergency and a quick response was needed, but about three metres away is the general car park for us ‘normal' folk and there was plenty of parks available for use," he said.

"[When I] photographed the patrol car I was approached by an elderly gentleman who had been watching this patrol car for a few minutes - he was appalled - and because of this patrol car parking where it did there were no more available disabled car parking spots."

Inspector Handcock responded via email to Mr Bodell.

"The police officers had parked in the disability car park as police had received an emergency call to attend an incident involving a known offender," he said.

"This offender has a history of violence and proximity to the entry/egress from the store was important, fortunately the arrest was able to be conducted without serious incident."

Mr Bodell said this wasn't the first time he had seen police cars parked in disability spaces and it was a habit that needed to stop.

"Police are supposed to be fit and law-abiding, but this is just a slap in the face to not only us who abide by the law but to those disabled people who rely on this parking facility."

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- Manawatu Standard

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