The PSNI Fermanagh are facing a backlash on social media after a Facebook post intended to promote their recent winter car safety checks showed their simulator car parked over two disabled parking bays.

The post was put up on the PSNI Fermanagh Facebook page on the morning of Saturday November 17 and featured a photograph of a Crash Car Simulator parked in the disabled parking area outside Asda Enniskillen along with text that read:

“We’re at Asda Enniskillen this morning with the PCSP Crash Car Simulator offering free winter car safety checks. Checking your tyres and lights as the winter sets in could be life-saving. Call over for a chat if you’re down doing the weekly shop.”

The post has since received a number of aggravated comments from members of the Facebook community with many suggesting that the PSNI should have been more considerate of disability parking bay users.

One Facebook user commented: “Why do you think it's ok to use a disabled parking bay for this. They are only 6% of the car parking spaces. I feel that it would have more of an impact if you had taken spaces of the average driver, instead of giving the message that it is all right to abuse blue badge parking bays!”

On behalf of the PSNI, a spokesman stated: “The Crash Car Simulator requires mains power to run and as such had to be located close to the building and to an electricity supply. It had been agreed in advance that the area sectioned off for the event at the front of the store could be used for these purposes. Officers were in attendance throughout the event and were in a position to move the car at any time if an unsafe situation materialised or if the disabled parking spaces were required to be used by members of the public.”

Local Roads Safety Education Officer Constable Trevor Kirke said: “Placing the vehicle around the corner or further away from the main door would have reduced the impact of the important message that we were seeking to put across with the result that a number of people would have missed out on the event. The area used for this event was the most appropriate location for the crash car simulator and the vehicle was carefully positioned so that it could be readily accessed and enjoyed by everyone.”
Constable Kirke continued: “Fifty one people have died on our roads this year and we are asking everyone to stop and think about this figure for a moment. These figures are not just statistics. Every time you hear about a fatal or serious collision on the news, there is a family, a circle of friends, a community plunged into mourning, or people having to learn how to cope with life changing injuries.”

“The event has been a major success and we have been able to bring a road safety message to a large number of people on Saturday morning. The response on the day was overwhelmingly positive and the location of the simulator was not questioned or criticised by a single customer or visitor,” he added.