PSNI block entrance to All Souls’ Church: to go to Starbucks!

A police landrover much like this one was blocking the car park to All Souls' Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church in Belfast on Sunday 20 February.

This morning when Andrew and I arrived at church we found a police landrover parked in the drive. This seemed strange – we wondered if there was a security alert. We spoke to one of the men on the committee at church and he said that there appeared to be no reason for this vehicle blocking the way into the church car park. This was with fewer than ten minutes to go to the service beginning.

Just as we were standing there, a police constable was spotted walking back towards the vehicle. I set off to ask him why he had parked there.

The conversation went something like this:

M: Excuse me, Constable, could you explain why you’re parked in front of this entrance?

Constable: Is anyone looking to get in now?

M: Well, yes, actually. Although they’ve just driven past to park on the street as you’re in the way.

Constable: Well as I asked, is anyone looking to get in right now?

M: That’s kind of irrelevant. Why do the police seem to think that they can park anywhere they like.

Constable: Is that a rhetorical question? Or do you want an answer?

M: I’d quite like an answer.

At which point Constable starts fiddling with his radio, and listening in. And putting away his purchases from Starbucks. He then ignored me, and as I left, I said: It’s okay, I have your shoulder number. I’ll contact someone to seek a proper answer.

so I returned to the church door where I was quizzed about what had gone on.

It seems that this particular member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland felt a bit peckish and decided to park the landrover in the nearest driveway (without checking to see to what it lead) and walking over to buy some snack in Starbucks. This seems completely inappropriate – and I fail to see why he could not have parked on the main Lisburn Road. Of course, being parked off Elmwood Avenue would make it less obvious that he was not actually in the vehicle.

We’ll see what happens when I write to Lisburn Road PSNI Station to find out the policy on parking.

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