A VETERAN police officer who stopped driving to ask former colleagues for directions was outraged after they fined him for “parking”.
Jim Kirkwood, 60, a retired superintendent, was issued a £30 fixed penalty after he pulled up next to a marked patrol car outside Prestwick Airport, Glasgow.
Mr Kirkwood believed his colleagues would realise his mistake and use their discretion instead of fining him.
He has now complained to the new Police Scotland and Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) as he believes that the episode highlights long-standing concerns about officers’ powers.
Mr Kirkwood paid the fixed-penalty fine, a move in which he effectively admits his guilt in the eyes of the law.
Mr Kirkwood, from East Ayrshire, said: “Discretion is one of the most powerful weapons that a police officer has. But I feel this power has been eroded in this new culture of targets.”
He claimed that the two officers had issued the fine with “undue haste” and acted with “inconsiderate or unreasonable conduct”. Police Scotland’s Professional Standards officials have admitted their officers began issuing the fine within a minute of Mr Kirkwood pulling in to the bus stop beside the police armed response vehicle, as shown by CCTV.
But his complaint was dismissed since stopping in a clearway amounted to a parking offence, even if the engine was not switched off, as occurred in Mr Kirkwood’s case.
A complaints officer said: “Parking on the clearway is recognised as a security risk due to its proximity to the airport.
“In regards to the current security alert status, the area is patrolled by local officers, including armed officers.”
Mr Kirkwood followed up his dismissed complaint with PIRC, but the watchdog refused to deal with him.
He had accepted the fine was fair when he paid it, without choosing to challenge the matter in court.
The fine was issued on 21 May when Mr Kirkwood was picking somebody up from the airport. He did not say he was a former senior officer before getting his ticket.
It is not unusual for armed officers to issue traffic fines for offences committed in front of them.
Senior officers have suggested that it would be a dereliction of duty for them to ignore law-breaking.
Current officers were not sympathetic to Mr Kirkwood’s case. One said: “Mr Kirkwood is right about discretion in general but his own case is not the best example.
“After the Glasgow Airport attack, we really don’t want cars parking on clearways near airports for obvious reasons.
“There really isn’t an excuse for doing what he did and most if not all officers would have issued him - or anybody else - with a fine.”