South Yorkshire Police bosses have ordered officers to stop leaving their vehicles on a city centre cycle lane after admitting ‘inconsiderate parking’ could be bad for the force’s reputation.
Cycling campaigners, including Matt Turner, aged 27, a member of Cycle Sheffield, said police cars and vans were among those regularly parked on the Castle Street cycle lane, just behind the force’s Snig Hill headquarters.
They claim cyclists are forced to weave in and out of vehicles and into the path of oncoming traffic because the designated cycle route becomes blocked.
Now the force, which has received dozens of complaints, has warned officers about their careless parking.
An internal email to staff which has been made public said: “It is impossible to refute some of the criticism that is directed at us, which accurately highlights our shortcomings through either a failure to plan or lack of consideration or both.
“Clearly there are reputation risks with inconsiderate parking around Snig Hill.
“Our performance in this regard is being monitored by highly motivated individuals and groups.”
Matt, who featured in The Star earlier this year after taking pictures of the police vehicles blocking the cycle lane, said that parking of both taxis and police vehicles was an “ongoing problem.”
“We had the police saying they would move taxis on if they saw them parking there, but they don’t seem to do that and then they park there themselves.
“I am not too worried about it reflecting too badly on the force, I just see them as other road users who should respect the rules.
“It is just another thing that puts people off cycling,” he added.
A spokeswoman said: “South Yorkshire Police do not approve of officers and staff parking inappropriately around Sheffield city centre, or anywhere in the county.” The lane has been in place since 1997.