Retired cop gets ticket from armed police for asking directions

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A SENIOR police veteran has been fined by armed officers – after parking for less than a minute to ask them for directions.

Jim Kirkwood – a retired superintendent from Glasgow – was fined £30 by officers after pulling up next to a patrol car to speak to former colleagues outside Prestwick Airport in late May.

The 60-year-old served for 30 years in the police force – even working for a time as a senior officer in the Special Branch of Strathclyde Police.

But his complaints to Police Scotland and the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) have now been rejected – even though he did not turn off his engine.

Mr Kirkwood paid the £30 fixed penalty fine – meaning he has legally admitted to the offence – but he has now spoken out about the officers’ decision to issue the ticket.

Jim Kirkwood, the retired senior officer
Jim Kirkwood, the retired senior officer

 

He said officers should have realised he made an innocent and common mistake, adding: “Discretion is one of the most powerful weapons a police officer has. But I feel this power has been eroded in this new culture of targets.”

Police Scotland have specifically denied claims that officers are issued with ticketing quotas, with outgoing Chief Constable Sir Stephen House saying he wants officers to issue more warnings and fewer fines.

But the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents (ASPS) – which Mr Kirkwood was a member of – has been warning against a “targets culture” for many years.

After the incident the retired officer, who now lives in East Ayrshire, complained officially that the officers acted with “undue haste” in ticketing him, which constituted “inconsiderate or unreasonable conduct.”

Police Scotland’s professional standards officials admitted that the armed cops had began issuing the ticket within a minute of Mr Kirkwood pulling up next to the police car at a bus stop.

But they dismissed his complaint, adding that simply stopping in a clearway amounted to a traffic offense.

A complaints officer told him: “Parking on the clearway is recognised as a security risk due to its proximity to the airport.”

Now the PIRC have refused to deal with his complaints because he has accepted the fine by paying it without challenging it in court.

Another active police officer added: “Mr Kirkwood is right about discretion in general but his own case is not the best example.

“After the Glasgow Airport attack, we really don’t want cars parking on clearways near airports for obvious reasons.

“There really isn’t an excuse for doing what he did and most if not all officers would have issued him – or anybody else – with a fine.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We can confirm a 60-year-old man was issued with a fixed penalty notice on Thursday May 21, 2015 for parking in a restricted area at Prestwick Airport.

“A complaint was later received in respect of this matter and a response has been provided.”

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