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City of York Council pay police to patrol Lendal Bridge
COUNCIL bosses have paid for police to work overtime to monitor the controversial restrictions on York’s Lendal Bridge, The Press can reveal.
City of York Council has confirmed that it paid about £2,000 to North Yorkshire Police, to “provide support” during the first week and a half of the trial.
The new restrictions ban private traffic from the bridge bertween 10.30am and 5pm daily, but about 1,000 motorists a day breached the rules in the first week, as reported in The Press.
The council defended the £2,000 expense and said it would be funded through fines from drivers breaching the rules, but opposition councillors called it “a waste of police time and money”.
Darren Richardson, director of city and environmental services at the council, said: “We have said from the outset that the purpose of the Lendal Bridge trial is not to generate revenue, but to reduce traffic going over the bridge and through the city centre, as part of a long-term vision to create a more attractive and thriving city centre for us all.
“In view of this, police officers were brought in to provide additional support during the first week and a half of the trial, as they have the powers to stop vehicles whilst stationary, and advise drivers of the traffic restrictions.”
Conservative leader Ian Gillies said: “I am sure police officers have got better things to do than watch traffic going across a bridge.
“It is an appalling waste of police time and I think it goes to show that, with the number of offenders going across the bridge and the neccessity to provide police, the signage is poor and is not working.”
Councillor Paul Doughty said: “North Yorkshire Police tell me that their staffing does not affect other operations, but personally I would rather see the police catching real criminals. Once again, the poor counci-tax payer is footing the bill for the inadequate poor planning of this Labour administration.”
Superintendent Phil Cain, of York Police, said the police presence was “to educate drivers about the bridge’s closure”, rather than provide any enforcement. He said officers had not been prevented from completing other duties.
He said: “The policing of the new traffic arrangement is being carried out through the provision of extra resources funded by the council. As a result, there has been no affect on the day-to-day, routine policing in the city.”
Mr Richardson said the support would be funded by income from Penalty Charge Notices and said future such income would be invested into the city’s highway infrastructure.
Fines were waived for offences in the first week.
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