Blitz on blue badge fraud in Hampstead
By poppy_smith | Tuesday, February 05, 2013, 20:42
New figures released by Camden Council have shown a 60% reduction in the number of disabled blue badges being fraudulently used to park across the borough.
In 2012, the Council, while undertaking operations in partnership with NSL and the Vehicle Crime Working Group seized 68 blue badges that were either fake, reported as lost, stolen, or were registered to a person who had died, compared to 113 in 2011.
In July, a fake badge from Cardiff was found being used in Camden, while in October, a fake badge from the Isle of Wight was seized by parking officers.
Over 2012, 177 motorists were found to be misusing badges to park without the passenger to whom the badge was allocated, a small decrease on 2011, when 183 were found.
As part of Camden's clampdown on blue badge misuse, 46 cases were referred to the issuing Council for action to be taken while Camden referred 79 cases to its legal team, resulting in 45 prosecutions. In May, an employee of Network Rail was found guilty of misusing a blue badge to park his company vehicle outside his own home. Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court (the Court) imposed a financial penalty on the Defendant, totalling £965.00.
In June, the Court fined a motorist parking in Kentish Town £235 for misusing her elderly grandfather's blue badge. When questioned in Court, the motorist stated that her grandfather had been with her but had gone to visit a local naturist club. After hearing evidence from the motorist, her grandfather and the Council, the magistrates found a number of inconsistencies between the evidence of the motorist and her witnesses.
Councillor Phil Jones, Cabinet member for sustainability, Camden Council said:
"The decline in the number of stolen and fake blue badges being used in Camden is welcome and the efforts of our parking officers and Vehicle Crime Working Group should be recognised. Stopping this form of anti-social behaviour frees up parking spaces for the genuinely disabled to park their vehicles."
"Over the last 12 months we have seen some frankly bizarre explanations to account for the misuse of blue badges across Camden. There are no excuses to misuse a blue badge."Camden will continue to take the strongest possible action against those who use stolen, fake, or altered badges and in 2013 as an added deterrent we will be using our website to name and shame the people who block vital parking spaces allocated for the disabled and vulnerable."