POLICE officers who abuse their power by parking outside a Scottish court will be hit with hefty fines.
Following complaints from local residents, Scots cops will have to prove “exceptional circumstances” or shell out for a ticket if they choose to park around Edinburgh’s High Court at Lawnmarket.
Police chiefs have struck up a deal with Edinburgh Council which means that even vehicles with an official ‘police’ sign on the dashboard will be ticketed.
Police officers may have to pay parking fines.
Senior officers will then check any tickets to ensure officers are not dodging parking fees and stopping in the area out of “convenience”.
Police cops found to be rogue parking will then have to cough up and pay for the parking fine. Justifiable cases – such as responding to an incident – will see tickets appealed and thrown out
Motoring groups have praised the council’s decision, calling it “common sense.”
Neil Greig, director of policy at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “This is probably the first positive arrangement in terms of parking in Edinburgh for some time. It seems to be a fair and transparent system. There have been many negatives around parking arrangements in the city so it’s good to see some common sense being applied.”
The issue was recently highlighted when an unmarked car that brought murdered bookkeeper Suzanne Pilley’s parents to court was given a parking ticket while they watched their daughter’s killer being sentenced.
On Tuesday, two police officers were caught on camera parking a patrol van in a no loading bay in order to go into a butcher’s to buy some sausages.
Tory councillor, Iain Whyte, convener of the police board, called the new arrangement “pragmatic”
He added: “This seems like a pragmatic arrangement which allows officers to get to urgent incidents, but at the same time ensures that residents’ spaces are not being taken up when they don’t need to be.”
Officers frequently attend court in order to give evidence, and often have to wait hours for their turn in the witness box.
Local residents complained to the council about the unmarking cars being parked in the Lawnmarket, after some were convinced their presence was not always vital.
City transport leader Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, said: “Where appropriate, our parking attendants have been advised by Lothian and Borders Police to ticket police vehicles parking in residents’ parking bays, pay and display bays and taxi stances around the High Court.
“This is to allow local residents and others to park in this area. The arrangement has the full support and cooperation of Lothian and Borders Police and local residents.”