As yet another sign that we have too many cops. New figures reveal that thousands of taxpayers’ money has been spent on paying for parking fines after meter maids issue citations for marked police cars.
The Metropolitan police paid Islington Council £1,400 in parking fines in 2006. The year before the figure was more than £2,000.
In total, the police have paid Islington Council almost £7,000 in parking fines over four years, since 2002.
The police have confirmed the figures include fines paid for marked police vehicles – easily identified by the blue lights on top and fluorescent stripe along the side.
Councillor Richard Watts (Labour) who uncovered the figures, said: "It’s bonkers! I think residents will be shocked to hear that their taxpayer’s money, which should be going into the fight against crime, is going into paying parking tickets.
"Police budgets are stretched and the last thing they should be worrying about is dodging traffic wardens. It’s just another example of what a rip-off Islington’s parking policy is. The council should immediately repay this money to the police."
Campaigner Tim Newark, of the Local Freedom Party, added: "It is extraordinary. Traffic wardens should be trained and educated into exercising common sense and good judgement – they should not be ticketing police cars.
"Their job is to ensure the smooth flow of traffic, not to raise revenue through parking fines.
"It’s a waste of taxpayer’s money, and I hope the figures change this year now the council is supposed to be pursuing a new policy on parking."
Detective Superintendent David Miveld said "Although Islington police take care to park lawfully, there will be occasions when operational demands result in police vehicles receiving parking tickets. These are considered on an individual basis and paid accordingly".
Councillor Lucy Watt, (Liberal Democrat), executive member for environment, said: "Police officers are not given tickets when carrying out operations in marked police cars.
"But when they use unmarked cars for investigations and these cars are illegally parked and unattended, parking attendants may not know they are police cars. Attendants may issue tickets, particularly if the cars are dangerously parked, for example, in the bus lanes around Tolpuddle Police Station.
"We have an understanding with the police force to cancel any parking tickets issued to unmarked cars when senior police officers tell us an investigation was underway when they were issued.