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The UK Parking Patrol Office Limited
UK Parking Patrol Office,
PO Box 453
DUKINFIELD
SK14 9FG

03707 203807
sales@parkingpatrol.co.uk

Blue Badge Misuse and Fraud Explained

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The problem of people using a friend or relatives blue badge to park in restricted areas has escalated over the last few years. While this may not seem like a major issue to some motorists, what they fail to understand is that they are seriously inconveniencing people with real disabilities who are reliant on those parking spaces. 

There is a reason why disabled bays exist and that is to provide easy access to amenities for people with genuine health issues. Not only is the misuse of a blue badge morally wrong but what the majority of people don’t realise is that it is also a criminal offence. 

Within this blog post, leading providers of car parking enforcement, Parking Patrol, are going to look at: 

  • What is the Blue Badge Scheme
  • What Types of things are Considered to be Blue Badge Misuse 
  • What are the Penalties for Blue Badge Misuse
  • What are the Effects of blue Badge Misuse

What is the Blue Badge Scheme? 

The blue badge scheme or, as it was known at the time, the “orange badge scheme” came into effect in the UK in 1971. The intention of this new initiative was to allow people with disabilities travelling as a driver or passenger to park closer to their intended destination. Because private car parks and other places like hospitals, supermarkets and shopping centres have provisions in place for disabled parking, the blue badge scheme is only intended for on street parking. 

It is important to be aware of your responsibilities as a blue badge holder. Which is that you must always ensure the badge is used correctly and only by the person it was intended for. If you are using the badge as a passenger it is imperative you make the driver aware of the conditions of use. 

What Types of things are Considered to be Blue Badge Misuse?

While the blue badge scheme helps many people in the UK with mobility issues, there are also many others who misuse them. Figures suggest  that 1 in 5 blue badges are being used by someone who is not the actual badge holder. The road traffic act makes it a criminal offence for any blue badge holder to misuse it. 

Blue badge fraud can take a number of different forms, for example, you must never allow family or friends to use the badge to park in restricted areas. Also under no circumstances must you copy the badge or attempt to change any of the details on it to allow someone else to use it. Another thing you should be aware of is that it is an offence for any badge holder to allow any non disabled person to make use of the concession while they stay in the car. 

What are the Penalties for Blue Badge Misuse?

As we pointed out earlier, misusing a blue badge is a criminal offence and as such carries penalties. Blue badges are issued by local authorities and if you are convicted of blue badge fraud, the least you can expect is that your badge will be confiscated. However, misuse of blue badge sentencing guidelines also allow magistrates to fine anyone found abusing the scheme of up to £1000 plus the costs of the court case.  

The main aim of this is to help ensure that genuine badge holders are able to make use of the scheme as and when they need to. Department for Transport figures in 2020 showed that 32 councils in the UK prosecuted 10 or more people for blue badge misuse which helps to highlight the depth of the problem. 

What are the Effects of Blue Badge Misuse?

There are around 2 million blue badge holders in the UK. When people abuse the scheme, they are not only undermining its credibility, but parking illegally could be negatively impacting the lives of genuinely disabled people who need those spaces. 

This type of misuse can potentially prevent genuine blue badge holders carrying out essential daily tasks such as going shopping or visiting friends and family. This can lead to them feeling isolated and affect their overall well being. This is why many councils now have dedicated blue badge enforcement teams. 

If you are a local council and worried about blue badge misuse, our fully trained parking wardens could offer a solution. If you need help to enforce parking regulations or would like more information on blue badge misuse and how to prevent this in your car parks, call and speak to our team on 03707 203807 today. 

 

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