London,
18
June
2009
|
00:00
Europe/London

Cracking down on Blue Badge fraud

Hackney Council has a new anti-fraud team to crack down on people who abuse the Blue Badge disabled parking scheme.

It is estimated that one in 200 badges are stolen from vehicles every year and that there are as many as 1000 instances of Blue Badge misuse and abuse that could be occurring in London every day.

Before 2005, 60 per cent of car break-ins in Hackney were to steal Blue Badges. This has dropped dramatically since the introduction of the Companion Badge Scheme, which is specific to one vehicle, removing the incentive to steal it. The Council is encouraging Blue Badge holders to apply for a Companion Badge which is free and also allows you to park in more places.

The Hackney Blue Badge Fraud Team will be out from 1st July, monitoring misuse and prosecuting offenders, who can face a fine of up to £1000 or even imprisonment for the more serious offences.

Some types of misuse are not intentional, but happen because drivers are unaware of the rules. For example, a carer cannot use the badge unless they are driving the badge holder.

Cllr Alan Laing, Hackney Council’s Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, said:
“Disabled people have told us that they want something done about fraud and misuse, which makes it harder for them to go about their daily life. A Blue badge is a privilege which shouldn’t be abused. When it is, we will take action and if you do try to cheat the system, you will be caught.”

The Council is sending a leaflet explaining the scheme to every Blue Badge holder in Hackney. It outlines the rules, and suggests ways to avoid your badge being used fraudulently.

To find out more, or to report fraud, contact the Blue Badge Hotline 0208 356 8866 or email bluebadgefraud@hackney.gov.uk.