POLICE who parked in a disabled bay while they bought their breakfast from a sandwich shop have been told they “should know better.”
Two female officers left their marked car in the bay in Grand Avenue, Southbourne while they chatted to staff in the Hungry Husky cafe.
Around 20 minutes later they emerged carrying food, according to a local businessman.
The man, who does not wish to be named, told the Daily Echo: “Parking is a problem in this area, particularly for the disabled. There is free, on-street parking nearby so there’s no excuse for taking up a space for the disabled.”
He added: “The police use that cafe quite a lot but most of them have the sense to park round the corner. This was just lazy because it was obvious that they were just chatting and getting food. They were not dealing with an incident.”
West Southbourne councillor Chris Mayne said: “The police should know better than that and should be setting an example to other people.
“It happens from time to time that people misuse the spaces but there are not enough enforcement officers around to deal with it.”
Cllr Mayne said he believes there are enough designated spaces for the disabled but only if they are not used by other people.
A Dorset Police spokesman said: “At the time this picture was taken officers were not responding to an emergency at this location. Dorset Police does not condone this action.
“The officers responsible have been identified and given formal words of advice.
“It provides an obvious reminder to all officers that their behaviour is under constant scrutiny and as such they must be professional and beyond reproach at all times.”
Margaret Leslie, Bournemouth’s Parking Operations Manager, said: “We have made parking available to the disabled in the form of designated bays across the town and continue to check that they are being used by those that are eligible to park in them. The police are allowed to park in these bays when they are dealing with emergencies but only for those purposes.”
In the first five months of this year a total of 649 fines were issued across the borough for misuse of disabled parking bays. Cases are usually dealt with by a £70 fixed penalty notice.
The number of blue badges issued in Bournemouth is 11,610.