5 04 2008

Controversy as police van parks in disabled parking space!

Rochdale Online

03/04/2008

http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/community/8191/controversy-as-police-van-parks-in-disabled-parking-space

Just a matter of weeks after nationwide condemnation of England captain John Terry for parking his Bentley in a disabled spot while he enjoyed a long lunch, Rochdale Online has been sent photos by a reader of a police van parked in the disabled parking bays at ASDA supermarket on Dane Street last Sunday (30 March).

The photos have caused controversy, especially after the police backed ASDA’s stance over the selfish abuse of disabled parking spaces.

In a move that was welcomed by disability groups ASDA recently started fining drivers who park in disabled and parent and child spaces when they shouldn’t £60.

Helen Smith, director of policy and campaigns of National disabled charity, Mobilise said: “We fully support ASDA’s decision to fine people abusing parking bays. Since 2002, our organisation has been putting pressure on supermarkets to tackle this problem, so I am glad they have decided to deal with it head-on. Not being able to park in a disabled bay means some disabled people will not be able to do their shopping. We sincerely hope other supermarkets follow ASDA’s lead.”

Local MP Paul Rowen also praised the ASDA initiative at the time of its announcement saying: “Selfish drivers who park in these spaces do not realise the misery they can cause. Some of our most vulnerable simply rely on them to do their shopping.

“I hope that other major supermarkets can look at the example of ASDA and take firm action against those who can’t be bothered to tow the line.

Asked by Rochdale Online for his response to the poor example being set by the driver of the police van, Mr Rowen unequivocally condemned Greater Manchester Police.

Mr Rowen, who recently wrote an Early Day Motion supporting disabled people, said: “I have long campaigned against the misuse of disabled parking spaces and I am stunned at these photos. The police should be setting an example and I hope that the police carry out an investigation into the officer responsible and give him a firm warning. I would further hope that ASDA look to fine Greater Manchester Police the £60 fixed penalty.”

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “All GMP officers are advised with regard to their responsibilities when parking their vehicle and they should keep this in mind at all times.

“GMP is currently examining the circumstances surrounding the photographs, in order to establish whether the police van that was parked at ASDA was responding to an emergency incident.

“It is not acceptable for police vehicles to park in disabled bays generally and if it is found that officers were not responding to an emergency call then appropriate action will be taken.”

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