Kent County Council’s efforts to ensure the Blue Badge scheme is being used correctly and by genuine badge holders were reinforced by a day of enforcement action in the Folkestone area
KCC’s Counter Fraud team joined Folkestone and Hythe District Council’s parking team on inspections in several streets and car parks on Wednesday, 17 August, to check badges were being used by the authorised person and in the correct way.
Throughout the day civil enforcement officers were trained on how to inspect blue badges and taught about the importance of establishing if they were being used in accordance with the scheme. The inspections took place in Folkestone, Dymchurch and Hythe.
Blue Badge holders spoken to throughout the day welcomed the news and gave positive feedback about the need for badges to be inspected in the district.
In total 124 people had badges inspected and most of those spoken to were using the badge in accordance with the scheme. The civil enforcement officers identified misuse of a badge that had been reported lost which resulted in a referral to the Counter Fraud Team for further investigation. In addition, the team spoke to an additional 12 people regarding blue badges and answering any queries regarding the scheme.
The eligibility criteria change has increased the number of badges used in Kent. It is therefore paramount available spaces are used for legitimate purposes.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Clair Bell, said: “People who cheat the system by engaging in fraudulent or misuse of blue badges puts barriers in the way of genuine cases being able to enjoy their independence.
“Blue badges are crucial for people with disabilities or health conditions to enable them to park close to where they need to be.”
“This day of joint working will hopefully be a powerful show of strength and drive the message home that KCC and Folkestone and Hythe District Council will not tolerate abuse of the system.”
F&HDC Leader Cllr David Monk said: “Blue badges are for those with a disability to enable them to access services and shops as easily as possible.
“We welcome this joint work and training with Kent County Council and we hope it sends a message that fraud and misuse of the scheme will not be tolerated.”
Anyone suspecting misuse of a blue badge is asked to report it online at www.kent.gov.uk/reportfraud and search ‘blue badge’.
KCC, which handles Blue Badge applications across the county, carried out a similar enforcement day in Swale earlier this month.