Lambeth is leading the way in tackling ‘Blue Badge’ fraudsters who park illegally – and is gearing up for a new blitz.
Blue Badges are issued to disabled drivers, but fraud is a major issue, nationwide as well as across the whole of London, where it is estimated that the value of the official document, if misused for a year, is up to £10,000.
Now, Lambeth council is leading the way in a coordinated day of action across the capital next Thursday (May 26).
The council has a dedicated Parking Fraud Investigation Team – set up in 2006 – who work proactively to target offenders and protect the Blue Badge scheme in the borough.
It can be a case of a counterfeit document being displayed on dashboards of cars parked in areas normally off limits to drivers – double yellow lines and disabled bays being the prime example. It might be a stolen document is being used.
It is the leading council in London, and the country, for tackling blue badge fraud.
The Government’s Department for Transport figures for 2021 show that Lambeth has the most prosecutions of any council in the country for Blue Badge misuse.
It successfully prosecuted 119 fraudsters last year – with Birmingham (93) and Hammersmith and Fulham (92) the next highest.
Incidents of theft and fraud have been on the rise, with Department for Transport figures showing offences had risen by 45 per cent in the previous year.
Next week’s day of action will involve as many as 150 members of staff and they will have powers to tow away cars, seize badges, and issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).
Tom Gallagher, the Highways Enforcement and Licensing manager at Lambeth, said: “We’ve been recognised by leading disability groups, such as Disability Motoring UK, who did an article on us about a year ago, and we are leading the fight in London to tackle blue badge fraud.
“We successfully ran the inaugural Parking Fraud Forum last year in conjunction with London Councils and health emergency badge scheme representatives, and received praise from them for our commitment to not only tackle Blue Badge fraud in our borough, but to also share our wealth of knowledge with other boroughs.
A Lambeth council spokesman added: “The Blue Badge parking scheme is a key for Londoners with mobility problems or hidden disabilities, allowing them to park their vehicle close to their destination, either as a passenger or the driver.
“The scheme is designed for some of our most vulnerable residents.
“However, theft and fraudulent use of blue badges has risen in recent years. Some criminals steal the badges to sell on the black market or to use themselves to get free parking.
“This means that those who genuinely need to use these parking spaces often find themselves displaced by people who do not.”
Mital Patel, Transport Officer for London Councils, praised Lambeth for instigating the forum held in November last year.
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