Members of Kent County Council’s Counter Fraud Team have spent two days training Civil Enforcement Officers in two districts on a new system aimed at tackling the fraudulent use of the Disabled Persons’ Blue Badge scheme.
Civil Enforcement Officers from both Dartford and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Councils welcomed the introduction of a new mobile phone app which enables officers to check the legitimacy of blue badges.
They can now complete on-the-spot checks to confirm the badge is valid and is being used by the badge-holder, so they can target those who fraudulently misuse badges and cause distress to those people in need of disabled parking bays.
Legitimate Blue Badge holders welcomed the news and gave positive feedback about the need for badges to be inspected on the two boroughs.
In total, 72 people had badges inspected, the majority of whom were using the badge in accordance with the scheme. Four people were found to be abusing the scheme, which will result in enforcement action being taken against them.
A change in eligibility criteria has increased the number of badges issued in Kent. It is therefore paramount that available spaces are used for legitimate purposes.
James Flannery, KCC’s Counter Fraud Manager, said “This continues our proactive approach of working with district and borough councils in ensuring the blue badge scheme works for those that need it.”
“The Civil Enforcement Officers involved told us this was the best training they had ever received, and this system will allow them to target those who are causing an inconvenience to those members of public who are genuinely in need.
“Although most Blue Badge holders respect the rules of their use, KCC and the two borough councils will not tolerate the abuse of the system by the minority who misuse the scheme.”
If you suspect misuse of a blue badge, please visit www.kent.gov.uk and search “blue badge”.