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Resident to get answers at last
Kidlington resident Michael Makepeace grew so “sick and tired” of police cars parking outside his home he fired off a series of questions to officials.
But his efforts to find out more about who was leaving their cars outside his Oxford Road home were labelled “vexatious” by police.
Now, after twice being refused the information, Mr Makepeace has finally won his year-long battle for the details.
Mr Makepeace says police staff and visitors have been using the service road outside his home – near the force’s headquarters – as a “long-term car park”.
The final straw came when a driver, who Mr Makepeace claims was visiting Thames Valley Police headquarters in Oxford Road, blocked the access to his drive.
He requested information about the incident from police, using the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, so that he could build evidence to lodge a complaint.
But police deemed his request “vexatious” – purely to cause annoyance – and turned him down.
Mr Makepeace denied this and took the case to the Information Commissioner. When it was turned down again, he appealed to the Information Rights Tribunal.
Now, a year after the original incident, the tribunal has found in Mr Makepeace’s favour and he has won the right to see details.
Mr Makepeace said: “We have had a long-standing problem with police parking on the service roads.
“It obstructs the views of the road and makes it extremely difficult for people to get out of their driveways. It’s dangerous.
“Police have got nearly 400 parking spaces on their site but they do not seem to be able to manage it. They were using our service road as a long-term car park.”
Mr Makepeace said he had tried to lodge a complaint with the police car park manager after his driveway was obstructed by an unmarked car he believes was connected to the police. After being turned down, but using the car’s registration number, he requested the name of the driver, the name of the car park manager and the station’s logbook.
Mr Makepeace, who has taken a series of photos showing marked police cars parked in the road, said: “People have to sign in and that would prove that it was a Thames Valley Police officer that parked outside my house.
“I wanted to get information to make a formal complaint. Without it, I have got no proof. It was a single request and it was not persistent. It was not vexatious.
“I am just disappointed in the state of management up there. They seem to think they are special, rather than public servants.”
Police spokesman Leo Tarring said: “We respect the decision of the Information Rights Tribunal and are currently in the process of providing a response to the original request. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Thames Valley Police classed 10 FoI requests as vexatious in 2010, and 23 in 2011 – information gleaned after an FoI request.