It was on the news last night and it is in the papers this evening. A policeman has been forced to cough up £370 for a parking ticket he received whilst he was on duty. Incredible though it may seem, Andy Byrne was not excused from the fine and was charged for exceeding his pay and display period.
Fed up and disillusioned the 44 year old has since left the West Midlands Police Force. Back in April Mr Byrne had driven to court to provide a statement over a suspect he had arrested for burglary. His car had been parked outside the Birmingham Magistrates Court. Upon arrival the policeman was told that there had been some confusion over whether or not the man had been granted bail and that the courts had released him. In an attempt to re capture the suspect Andy Byrne chased after him and called for assistance which resulted in the suspect being apprehended and brought back swiftly into custody.
When Mr Byrne returned to his vehicle he noticed that he had been given a parking ticket and wrote a letter of complaint, fully expecting that his reasons for returning late would ensure the cancellation of the ticket. After all, he had been chasing a suspected criminal. Last week the bailiffs called at his home to insist on payment of £370 or face the prospect of having his car being repossessed.
The city council claim that Andy Byrne was not supported by his commanding officers and that he failed to respond to penalty notices that were sent to him. Should he have even needed to?
This really instils us with confidence doesn’t it? First we have the Magistrates Court who irresponsibly let the man go and then we have the unfortunate incident involving the parking ticket and the city council. This is a great advertisement for the city of Birmingham. The next time a police officer parks up at a crime scene perhaps they should not be so eager to catch the criminals. First and foremost they should ensure they have paid and displayed. In the light of this draconian attitude of the City Council maybe they should also avoid parking their vans or police cars anywhere near double yellow lines in order to avoid a fine or parking tickets. That would just about rule out any active policing in the city centre on a busy Friday night.
This extraordinary story comes on top of recent news concerning an ambulance company who were forced to close due to the fact that they were being victimised for speeding with their drivers having their licenses endorsed. Just what encouragement is there to apply and become a member of the emergency services?
A police officer has to put up with verbal abuse and anti social behaviour on a day to day basis. In addition they have a dangerous and difficult job with unsociable hours. Enough that all efforts to catch criminals and repeat offenders often result in lenient courts and offenders walking free – now they have to cope with parking meters and worry about how much time they have left on the meter! The world has gone mad.