Figures released recently show a 45 per cent rise in stolen disabled parking permits. Most councils are failing to prosecute motorists for misusing disabled parking permits – despite a significant rise in thefts of blue badges.
More than three in five local authorities in England took no action against people caught falsely using the permit in 2017-18.
Disability campaigners said a failure to act against perpetrators was “disgraceful” with Phil Talbot of disability charity Scope said: “Stealing blue badges isn’t a crime without consequences. They are a vital lifeline for those who genuinely need them.”
Ninety-four of 152 English local authorities (62 per cent) did not pursue anyone for abusing the blue badge scheme since last year, according to Press Association analysis of Department for Transport data. Of those, 31 councils did not catch a single person, despite claiming to have a policy of prosecuting offenders.
Similar research two years ago found 40 per cent of councils were failing to punish drivers who misused blue badges, suggesting the problem is getting worse. Almost every case involving the 1,215 prosecutions which were launched involved drivers using someone else’s blue badge. The number of blue badges reported stolen increased by 45 per cent year-on-year to 4,246.
Around 2.4 million disabled people in England have blue badges, which are issued by councils”
North Derbyshire Liberal Democrats’ Equalities Spokesperson, Sandra Hinds, said:
“These aren’t victimless crimes. The blue badge scheme presents a lifeline for many with disabilities. What few dedicated parking spaces we have are needed and misuse of the scheme is a betrayal to our most vulnerable residents.
“Derbyshire County Council doesn’t have a policy to prosecute misuse or theft – which is a let down both of those legitimately in need and the hard-working council tax-payers who are funding the scheme.”