A parking officer has been charged with the clamping of two unmarked police cars as officers sat inside them. The policemen were allegedly carrying out security duties for the Queen.
Gareth Andrews, 37, who pleaded not guilty to the offence, was charged with wilfully obstructing a police constable in the execution of his duty. Additionally he was charged with contravening the Private Security Industry Act by not displaying the appropriate licensing badge.
It is reported that the officers’ unmarked cars were parked at the Gunwharf Quays marina retail complex. The incident took place on the 25th of May, as the Queen made an unannounced visit to Portsmouth to have lunch on a luxury yacht.
The Queen was taken to Gunwharf Quays in a Range Rover, having arrived in Southsea by helicopter. She had apparently arranged to have lunch with NCP car parks boss, Sir Donald Gosling, aboard his yacht, Leander.
Andrews was wearing his Shoal Enforcement uniform when the arrest took place. Bill Charlton, defending, told the court: “As far as Mr. Andrews is concerned, the vehicles were illegally parked.”
“Mr Andrews asked for his ID, which the officer allegedly declined to provide”, said Charlton. “He had clamped one and was in the process of clamping the second when an officer in plain clothes turned up to and challenged him. Mr Andrews says they were not in the cars at the time”.
According to Charlton, it is while Andrews was on the phone with his superior having been declined his request for police ID, that the officer produced his warrant card and arrested Andrews.
The Queen was wearing a pink coat and headscarf, and waved to the surprised locals of Portsmouth as she climbed aboard the 75-metre yacht.
A spokeswoman for Buckingam Palace was unable to confirm the details of the arrest since the Queen’s visit was a “private engagement”.