The misuse of the Blue Badge scheme undermines the benefits of the scheme, impacts upon local traffic management and creates hostility amongst other badge holders and members of the public. It can result in a genuinely disabled person being unable to access designated parking spaces.
Types of misuse
The vast majority of Blue Badge holders use their badges responsibly. However, there are individuals who misuse the scheme. This misuse can take a number of forms.
Misuse by the badge holder:
- parking in the wrong place or parking for too long where there is a time limit
- use of a badge that is no longer valid
- use of a badge that has been reported as lost or stolen
- letting a friend or relative use the badge
- use of a copied badge
- altering the details on the badge, for example, the expiry date
- making a fraudulent application (for example, providing false information on the application form) or using a badge obtained fraudulently
Misuse by a third party:
- using someone else's badge (with or without the badge holder's knowledge) without the badge holder being present in the vehicle at some point during the trip
- using a badge belonging to someone who has died
- copying, altering or faking badges
- using a stolen badge
- using a fake badge
This list is not exhaustive.
It's a criminal offence to misuse a Blue Badge. If someone is found to be in contravention of the Blue Badge scheme, this policy seeks to ensure that:
- the message is clear that misuse of the scheme will not be tolerated
- we provide support to Blue Badge holders to help them to understand their responsibilities as badge holders and reduce misuse
- we enforce the Blue Badge scheme in a fair and consistent manner
- we take appropriate and proportionate action to stop any misuse
- we undertake criminal proceedings in line with our prosecution policy when necessary
We operate a robust application process to minimise the number of false applications being successful.
Every successful applicant for a Blue Badge will be issued with the Department for Transport's The Blue Badge scheme: rights and responsibilities in England. This provides the badge holder with the information they need to ensure the badge is used appropriately
Each successful applicant will also be required to sign a declaration confirming that they will not allow someone else to use a badge that has been issued to them.
We will inspect vehicles parked on the public highway and in car parks using a blue badge, as part of the duties of its Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO). Where there is evidence of misuse and the misuse constitutes a contravention of road traffic regulations, the CEO will take the appropriate action as per
The CEO may also consider seizing the badge and returning it to the issuing authority if they establish reasonable grounds to do so and is practical.
If the misuse is by someone other than the badge holder, we will contact the badge holder to remind them of their responsibility to ensure the badge is not misused and that allowing another person to misuse the badge is a criminal offence. If the misuse continues, we will notify the badge holder that further misuse may lead to a refusal to renew the blue badge and that we may consider criminal proceedings if the misuse continues.
We may receive information on potential blue badge misuse from the public, our employees and other third parties. We will consider all allegations made and determine the appropriate action to be taken. Actions may range from reminding the badge holder of their responsibilities to criminal investigation dependant on the individual circumstances of the allegation.
Where intelligence suggests particular areas of Blue Badge misuse, we will consider undertaking operations to target these areas.
If the misuse could also constitute other criminal offences (other than road traffic offences), we will take the appropriate action to stop the misuse and investigate the offence. The issue of a Penalty Charge Notice for contraventions of road traffic regulations does not prevent us from also pursuing criminal offences. Such investigations are not limited to the badge holder, but also include third parties misusing the badge.
Criminal investigations will be conducted by professionally trained officers from the Counter Fraud Team in accordance with the Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act 1996, Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and any other legislation that may be appropriate to a particular investigation.
We will use the personal data we hold for the prevention and detection of crime where it is appropriate and lawful to do so.