South Yorkshire Police officers have been caught on camera apparently flouting parking laws – to pick up takeaways and post letters.
Police are investigating after being provided with a series of images of officers appearing to breach the Highway Code.
Following an official complaint from a member of the public, an internal message has been sent to officers from Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt warning them such behaviour is ‘completely unacceptable’.
He said: “The public always expect the police to abide by the law.
“There are operational circumstances where officers are allowed to contravene traffic regulations. However when no legitimate policing purpose exists, for example parking illegally to get a takeaway, such contraventions are completely unacceptable.
“I would urge any member of staff tempted to do this to reflect on the perception of the public and indeed on the embarrassment they would cause to their colleagues.”
In one of the incidents, a squad car was pictured on Staniforth Road in Darnall parked in a bus lane while one officer apparently bought a Chinese takeaway.
A complaint has also been submitted claiming an officer parked on double yellow lines to purchase takeaway food on West Street.
And another incident photographed in Attercliffe shows a police car parked on double yellow lines while an officer allegedly posts a letter.
The complaint has been submitted by Shaun Perera, who also has pictures which he says show a police car parked on double yellow lines in Beighton as an officer went to a sandwich shop.
He has a photograph of a further incident on The Wicker which he says involved two police cars parallel parked – one in the middle of the road – while officers chatted to each other in the evening.
After filing a complaint in March, Mr Perera, 32, from Attercliffe, was told his complaint will be investigated and dealt with – but there will be no formal misconduct action against officers.
He has been told by police the incidents represent possible ‘minor breaches of the standards of professional behaviour’ but do not merit disciplinary action.
Mr Perera has been informed identified officers will be spoken to and asked to account for their actions and ‘if appropriate they will be given advice’.
But he said he is concerned the way his complaint on a relatively minor issue has been handled.
He said: “The key issue for me is police accountability.
“What I am asking from the South Yorkshire Police is very reasonable. All I am asking from them is to admit whether there was misconduct on the part of the officers, with regard to each of the parking incidents I have complained about. However, South Yorkshire Police are refusing to do this.
“You would expect them to be accountable and transparent.
“Police vehicles parking unlawfully for non-policing matters and personal matters is an issue, because the police should be held to the same standards as all of us, if not higher.
“Most people expect that people who are supposed to uphold the law should be beyond reproach.
“The law should be equal for everyone.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “South Yorkshire Police has received a formal complaint in relation to two officers who allegedly contravened parking restrictions.
“The Professional Standards department are conducting an investigation. If this shows that there was no legitimate purpose for breaking parking restrictions, then appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”