Blue badge enforcement day

2000px-Handicapped_Accessible_sign.svgA blue badge enforcement day has been held to crack down on incorrect and fraudulent use of the disability scheme.

Run by Kent County Council’s internal audit team and Maidstone Borough Council’s Civil Enforcement Team, it was held on Tuesday, June 30.

Throughout the day, 31 drivers were spoken to with the vast majority, 25, using the blue badge correctly.

Six people were spoken to, including those using a disabled bay to pick up someone when they did not have a badge, displaying another person’s badge when the badge holder was not present, displaying another person’s badge to collect them at a later point and parking in a prohibited loading bay.

Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health Graham Gibbens said: “The exercise was as much about awareness as it was enforcement.

“As well as talking to people using the badge incorrectly, a number of expired badges were removed from circulation where the legitimate badge holder had kept hold of them following the issuing of a new badge.

“The response from the public was welcoming regarding the approach by both KCC and Maidstone Borough Council in checking people’s entitlement to blue badges.

“We want to ensure people are using the scheme correctly and we will clamp down on anyone trying to cheat the system.”

Using someone else’s blue badge or allowing another person to use it can land you with a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction.

The forging or counterfeiting a blue badge attracts a fine of up to £5,000, or if convicted under the Fraud Act, is likely to attract a community order or custodial sentence of up to a year.

The refusal to allow an authorised officer to inspect a badge is also an offence and attracts a fine of up to £1,000 on conviction.

Last year, Kent County Council issued 24,590 blue badges, while 809 applications were refused.

Of those issued, five badges were confiscated for misuse and two cautions were issued to people using the badges illegally.

Further enforcement days will be held in the county over the next few months.

To report misuse of a blue badge, visit www.kent.gov.uk or email bluebadgeteam@kent.gov.uk

Blue badge enforcement day was last modified: July 7th, 2015 by Thom Morris