Two borough car parks win top award

TWO car parks popular with boy racers and one recently swamped in travellers have scooped a prestigious award as recognition for trying to reduce crime.

Eight borough car parks, run by North Tyneside Council, have been awarded the Park Marks award from the Association of Chief Police Officers and the British Parking Association.

Among the winners are St Mary's Island and Beaconsfield, both of which are popular late night gathering spots for boy racers and car cruisers while another winner, Brierdene, was recently inundated by around 40 travellers.

Other winning car parks in the borough are Lowlights, Spanish Battery, Sea Banks, Whitley Bay Playhouse and Duke's Walk.

The nationwide scheme – supported by the Home Office and the Scottish Office – is designed to reduce crime and the fear of crime in car parks.

To win an award, each car park is independently vetted by the Police to ensure it is properly managed, maintained and has appropriate levels of surveillance, lighting, signage and cleanliness – all of which contribute to reducing the opportunity for crime.

Coun Dave McGarr, cabinet member for the environment and transport, said: "It's good news that we're making our mark in creating safer car parks.

"It says that we are helping to create a safe and non-threatening environment for motorists.

"The awards underpin our continued focus to improve safety in our car parks and with our partners, to reduce crime in the borough."

Phil Taylor, from the British Parking Association, said: "Safer Parking is a scheme which designs out crime and sets standards for car parking facilities.

"It reduces the opportunities for thieves to operate in car parks without being detected.

"North Tyneside Council has achieved these standards, This will now give the public confidence to leave their vehicles in their parking facilities."

Supt Ralph Logan, of North Tyneside Area Command, said: "We already have a very low rate of car crime in North Tyneside.

"Having several car parks across the borough which benefit from strong security features will help us keep car crime down in the future."