If you are thinking of parking your car at the airport, instead of forking out for taxis or having to rely on friends or family, how do you know the car park is safe?
We have all seen horror stories on TV about travellers returning from their trips and discovering that their vehicles have been damaged or that there are hundreds of extra miles on the clocks. What guarantee is there that you are not going to fall prey to the cowboy element when you leave your car at the airport?
The answer to the thorny question of car park security lies with the Park Mark award scheme, a nationally recognised benchmark for a secure parking environment for both vehicles and drivers.
Nowadays, 20% of all crime is vehicle related. The Park Mark scheme is a joint initiative between police and car park operators, meaning that members of the public can make an informed decision on where to park safely.
The Park Mark is awarded to car parks that have been extensively risk-assessed and vetted by the police who look at factors such as the standard of management, the adequacy of lighting, the cleanliness of the environment and the effectiveness of surveillance (both electronic and security patrols). Car parks are re-assessed every two years by an accredited assessor, so complacency is not an option for operators seeking to retain the prestigious award.
If this all sounds good, the next question is how to find one of these gold standard car parks. If you are wondering how easy it is to find out whether a car park has the accreditation, you will be pleased to know that when using the Airport Parking Shop website the results page will indicate which car parks have the Park Mark.
The Park Mark scheme benefits both its users and operators. Users have peace of mind, knowing that they can leave their car in a well managed, secure and clean environment where it is unlikely to be vandalised or stolen. Park Mark car parks are well lit and the customer has nothing to fear on a personal security level, even if returning to their car in the small hours of the morning. Car park operators benefit from increased and repeat custom.
One airport that has been reaping the benefits of the scheme is London Southend. The Essex airport retained its Park Mark this summer for each and every one of its car parks: Long Stay car parks 1, 2 and 3, its hotel car park and staff car park. Passengers using the airport have 1500 spaces available and, in addition to the usual criteria required of all Park Mark facilities, London Southend also have ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition), and all entrances and exits are controlled by barriers.
If you are planning to leave your car at the airport and want complete peace of mind on your trip, make sure you look out for the Park Mark when booking your space.
When comparing airport parking prices and facilities on Airport Parking Shop website, the search results page will highlight which car parks have the Park Mark award.
Alternatively, if you go directly to the list of all car parks for the specific airport, the car park security description will usually mention whether the facility has received the Park Mark award.