Redbridge Council cracks down on blue badge cheats

Prosecutions against people misusing blue badges in Redbridge has led to a warning from the council that cheats won’t be tolerated in the borough.

The council-led crackdown on blue badge fraud saw 42 prosecutions against blue badge offenders last year, alongside hundreds of blue badge checks to clamp down on the illegal use of the permits.

For genuine blue badge holders, the permit can be a lifeline to the community, providing those with mobility issues with special parking provision to access local amenities such as GP surgeries, shops, and libraries.

Anyone using a blue badge fraudulently is taking away a valuable parking space from those in genuine need of it, making it harder for people with mobility issues to go about their daily business.

As part of efforts to stop the misuse or fraudulent use of blue badges, 34 of the permits were seized last year after they were identified as being used illegally in the borough – a high portion of the seized badges were discovered to be either stolen or reported as lost originally.

Council parking enforcement officers also routinely check blue badges displayed on vehicles in Redbridge as part of the Council’s tough stance against blue badge fraud to ensure the protection of its disabled parking provision.

Successful prosecutions brought to court by the council have included a driver given one of the largest fines of last year after being caught by council parking enforcement officers using a blue badge that had been reported lost several months back. The badge was handed over to the officers at the scene of the crime in Ilford, and the driver ended up with fines totalling £1,038, after landing in court.

In another case from last year, a parking enforcement officer was on patrol when he saw a car parked illegally. The vehicle was unattended and displaying a blue badge, which officers discovered was valid and had been issued to a female. However, upon the driver returning it was evident the badge was being misused as the driver was male. When approached by the officers the driver said that the badge belonged to his wife who was at home. He was subsequently reported, and at court received fines totalling £926.

Cabinet member for environment and sustainability Cllr Jo Blackman said: “There are robust rules in place to ensure blue badges are not misused. The permits are issued to people who face real difficulty in getting around and are a vital lifeline for those with mobility issues.

“People who choose to misuse the badges are stealing parking spaces from those who need it the most. There really is no excuse for this kind of behaviour.

“I’m pleased Redbridge is proactive on blue badge fraud and, in doing so, we are making our borough more accessible for those with disabilities. Our message is very clear – we won’t tolerate blue badge fraud in Redbridge. If you misuse a blue badge, you will be prosecuted.”

Blue badges should only be displayed if the holder is travelling in the vehicle as a driver or passenger, or if someone is collecting the blue badge holder or dropping them off and needs to park at the place where the blue badge holder is being collected or dropped.

Not all disabilities are visible. If you see someone you believe to be misusing a badge, please do not confront them, instead contract the council using the details below:

To report suspected blue badge fraud, call 0800 633 5267 or email whistleblow@redbridge.gov.uk

For more information on the blue badge scheme in Redbridge, go to www.redbridge.gov.uk/parking/blue-badge/

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