A SUTTON dad is demanding an apology from Nottinghamshire Police after he received a late-night visit from officers chasing him up for an unpaid parking fine.
Tim Watson and his wife Carly, along with their children Charlie (6) and one-year-old Hugo, were all in bed at around 10.40pm last Wednesday when they got the knock from the police.
The 34-year-old has now lodged a formal complaint with the force on the grounds he was spoken to in an ‘uncivil’ way and because the time of the visit was ‘disproportionate to the seriousness of the alleged offence’.
After hearing the door knock, Mr Watson found a police officer waiting.
He said: “There was a female police officer at the door asking for me by name and I was terrified as I thought something awful had happened.
“It turns out it was to do with an over-due parking ticket.
“Then a second police officer barged in uninvited. He was angry and raising his voice.
“We asked politely if he would mind keeping the noise down as we have small children in bed.’
“But he said, ‘I can’t hear them’ and carried on without any thought to my family at all.
“He was shouting accusations, saying that I had been producing false number plates and suggesting I was a criminal.
“I didn’t want to aggravate the situation but I asked if we could resolve this at a more reasonable hour - to which he refused.”
According to Mr Watson, the situation arose after he bought a new car with a private number plate on it.
“The parking ticket was issued to me just after I had bought the car,” he said.
“There was an old number plate on it and I was waiting for it to be transferred (by the DVLA).”
Mr Watson claims the officer proceeded to thoroughly search his car, although nothing illegal was uncovered.
He was then taken into the police car where he says he was questioned further.
Mr Watson acknowledges he should have paid the fine on time - but questions why officers had to visit him so late at night over a minor road traffic matter.
“He was asking me questions about the car registration and the parking ticket and was writing everything down,” he said.
“All the time he kept the lights on full and the diesel engine running in the police car. I asked him to respect our neighbours, some elderly, and turn the car off, but he refused. “I have no objections to the police doing their job, but my problem is that they woke me and my family up at that time of night and then handled the situation badly. He was very aggressive.
“The ordeal concluded for us at midnight, which is unacceptable and which I find an astonishing use of police time.”
Mr Watson says he was eventually issued with a fixed penalty notice for apparently not having the right number plate.
The following day, Mr Watson hit out about his treatment at the hands of the police to more than 1,000 followers on microblogging website Twitter.
He tweeted: “When I asked why they couldn’t have come in the day during reasonable hours, the reply was ‘because we’ve been busy’ @nottspolice.”
Yesterday, a police spokesman said: “Although we have not received a formal complaint about this matter, the very fact that it has been brought to our attention means we will automatically review the matter internally to assess whether our response was appropriate.”