THE police have been accused of hypocrisy after officers left cars parked illegally outside the town's police station.
Kirklees councillor Mark Hemingway took these photographs of two police cars - one unmarked - parked entirely on the pavement on Albion Street and another abandoned on double yellow lines across the entrance to the station.
But the town's police commander, Chief Supt John Holt, has put up a vigorous defence for the way police vehicles are parked outside the station.
Clr Hemingway said: "I couldn't believe it. If a member of the public had parked like any of these three cars, traffic wardens would no doubt have been straight out to put a ticket on them.
"Two of the cars are completely on the pavement and the one across the entrance badly impaired visibility for vehicles coming out of the station."
Clr Hemingway was so annoyed he went into the police station. Staff behind the counter said they had paged the officers to come and move the vehicles and were still waiting for them to be moved.
Clr Hemingway said: "I doubt members of the public would get a chance to move their cars first like this before they got a ticket.
"There was plenty of space in the police station yard and the car park beneath the Civic Centre next door.
"While I was at the counter three vehicles pulled into the yard."
He added: "Parking like this is hypocritical. The police should be leading by example."
But Chief Supt Holt defended the practice.
"We are an emergency service and need to be in a position where we can respond rapidly to emergencies which may mean the difference between life and death," he said.
"The police station - and its capacity for police vehicle fleets - dates from the 1970s.
"The world has changed dramatically since then and the number of police vehicles we need have outgrown the space in the station.
"What would people rather have us do - spend our time touring around looking for a parking space or responding quickly to requests for help?"
But he did say he would be the first to take action against any officers who parked police vehicles illegally if they were going for a sandwich or using a bank cash machine.
"The parking on Albion Street is only done as an operational necessity," he said.
A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said there was no need for police to ask the council for a sign saying Police Vehicles Only on Albion Street.
She said: "If police vehicles are used in the course of police business they have overriding powers to park where they want."
She said the street could simply be coned off to ensure there was room for police vehicles to park on the double yellow lines.