DMUK Logo (RGB)One of DMUK’s important campaigns is encouraging Local Authorities to make sure that the Blue Badge Scheme is properly administered and enforced. There are now 2.39 million Blue Badges held in England, this is 4.4% of the population. This figure has decreased each year since the reforms of the Blue Badge application process in 2011/12. DMUK took part in these reforms and is pleased that the decrease in the number of badges being issued suggests that they are now only being granted to the people that meet the criteria.

At the end of January 2016 the Department for Transport (DfT) released new statistics on the number of prosecutions for misuse of the Blue Badge scheme. The statistics look at Local Authorities in England in the period from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015. The number of prosecutions for misuse during this period was 985, compared to 535 prosecutions which took place the previous year. This is an 84% rise. The overwhelming majority of cases were against non-disabled people using another person’s Blue Badge. Only 28 cases out of the 985 were against Blue Badge holders.

Is there more Blue Badge misuse?

This figure would seem to suggest that there is more Blue Badge misuse than the previous year. DMUK believes this is not the case and it is just that more local authorities are starting to take the matter seriously and are enforcing the scheme properly. The number of local authorities that have a ‘yes’ prosecution policy in the latest survey is 53, compared to the previous year which was 43.5%. This suggests that local authorities are moving in the right direction when it comes to using proper enforcement.

Reading between the figures

What is disappointing, however, is that out of the 53% of local authorities that have a ‘yes’ policy, when it came to prosecution only 50% of this group actually prosecuted one or more person. So only half of the local authorities that say they have a ‘yes’ to prosecution policy actually use this policy to enforce the scheme. What is the point in having a policy if it isn’t going to be used? Furthermore when you look at the total number of authorities surveyed only 27% undertook prosecutions, meaning that 73% of local authorities in England are not using enforcement.

What can you do?

Disabled Motoring UK believes in firm enforcement of the scheme in order to prevent abuse by disabled and non-disabled people. Local Authorities should prosecute those who use badges illegally and publicise all prosecutions. The figures show that councils are moving in the right direction, but we would still like to see more taking up active enforcement through prosecution.

To see if your local authority was one of the authorities that uses prosecution please check the DfT’s statistics.

We are asking disabled people to help by writing to their MP to ask what is being done to tackle misuse in their local area. A template letter can be found on our website www.disabledmotoring.org/campaigns/blue-badge

DMUK CEO, Graham Footer, said: “The improving statistics are encouraging as they show that more local authorities are taking this issue seriously by prosecuting offenders. However there is still a long way to go and we’d like to see 100% of local authorities actively prosecute. A written policy does nothing unless it is put into practice.”

Statistics

Survey conducted by DfT of 152 local authorities in England.

  2015 % of local authorities 2014 % of local authorities
Yes policy to prosecution for Blue Badge misuse 53% 43.5%
No policy to prosecution for Blue Badge misuse 39% 47.5%
Did prosecute offenders 27% 20%
Did not respond to the survey request 8% 9%

 

Statistics available at www.gov.uk

Local Authorities with Highest number of prosecutions

Local Authority Number of prosecutions
Hammersmith & Fulham 190
Leeds 179
Waltham Forest 120
Newcastle 116
Lambeth 56
Wandsworth 49
Bath & North East Somerset 38
Enfield 36
Bradford 26
Sutton 21