Rogue drivers face parking crackdown

Manor Street allows parking on the left side for drivers  with a blue badge only
Manor Street allows parking on the left side for drivers with a blue badge only

The boss of Falkirk’s police force has promised action against rogue drivers who use parking spots reserved for disabled motorists.

Chief Inspector Damian Armstrong made it clear his officers will crack down after complaints from a blue-badge holder that confusion over who has the power to punish people who ignore the rules had left him seeing red.

Bill Rarity complained to the police after repeatedly finding it impossible to find a space in Falkirk town centre.

The first time he was assured if he reported the details to a police contact centre using the 101 number they would take action.

But the second time he was stunned to be told Police Scotland could do nothing because it does not have the powers to issue tickets and fines.

Confused, he went back to Falkirk Police Office where the officer behind the desk confirmed that was the situation and he should contact Falkirk Council instead.

Mr Rarity, from Redding, was forced to retire from his job as a teacher at Linlithgow Academy last year due to serious ill-health.

The 62-year-old said: “I’ve had my blue badge since November and depend on it to get parked in Falkirk, particularly in Manor Street which is ideal for people with mobility issues because it’s so close to the shops in the High Street, but it’s never been easy.

“It seems to me that no matter what time of the day I arrive, the disabled spaces have been taken by motorists who have no right to be there but quite happy to abuse the system.

“I thought it was ridiculous in the first place to have to call a contact centre with information which they would then relay to Falkirk for action when I could easily have done that myself face-to-face, but then to be told it was not Police Scotland’s but Falkirk Council’s problem was bizarre.”

Yesterday (Wednesday) a spokesman for the council was clear.

He said: “This problem is caused by irresponsible and uncaring drivers who actively choose to park in disabled bays without being entitled to do so.

“The issue of enforcement remains with Police Scotland until such times as we have established a decriminalised parking enforcement scheme with the Scottish Government.”

Chief Inspector Armstrong confirmed that is the position.

He said: “Since April 1 last year there has been no dedicated traffic warden provision across the Falkirk Council area.

“Since that date, and while Falkirk Council progress a Decriminalisation of Parking Enforcement Scheme, the responsibility for enforcement of parking issues is being managed by local officers within Falkirk Area Command.

“They have been engaging with members of the public within the Falkirk area, requesting they respect the local parking legislation and bylaws and advising them they should park their vehicles considerately, legitimately and safely.

“A priority for officers are those vehicles who park dangerously, illegally and those that use disabled parking spaces without the necessary authorisation.

“Where competing priorities and demand allow, officers will continue to enforce those drivers who ignore parking regulations or cause unnecessary obstruction.”