Public handed bill for police parking

A REVIEW into the £50,000 annual cost of car parking spaces leased by Suffolk Constabulary has today ruled that taxpayers will have to continue to cough up the money.

A REVIEW into the £50,000 annual cost of car parking spaces leased by Suffolk Constabulary has today ruled that taxpayers will have to continue to cough up the money.

As previously revealed in The Evening Star, the force currently pays for 75 rented parking spaces near to the police station in Ipswich, plus four spaces in Bury, for constabulary staff.

Concerns over the high cost of parking prompted Suffolk Police Authority to request an investigation into alternatives and the possibility of charging staff was considered.

A report by Chief Constable Alistair McWhirter has suggested charging should not be implemented at the moment. It follows consultation with staff and unions.

Ch Con McWhirter said: “There was considerable ill-feeling and resistance to the introduction of charges.

“Many would look to park locally, which may cause problems with residents and some stated they would look for alternative employment.”

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A staff survey revealed that 74per cent of people use a car as their sole method of transport to work and some said there was no alternative. Many said they would look for other places to park if a fee was introduced.

Megan Howes, of UNISON, wrote to the authority to say the public service workers' union would not back parking charges.

She said a sum of £2 a day had been suggested and argued that many staff would not be able to fund the additional £40 per month.

She said: “UNISON has not supported in the past, or will support in the future, the concept of car parking charges.

“We believe it would give rise to more problems than it actually solves.”

Suffolk Police Authority agreed with the recommendations of the report, not to charge staff but said the matter would be kept under review.

Weblinks: www.suffolk.police.uk; www.unison.org.uk

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