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Drivers urged to "respect the badge" or face penalty

Drivers urged to "respect the badge" or face penalty

Able bodied drivers who fraudulently use disabled ‘Blue Badge’ parking permits are being targeted in a crackdown by Birmingham City Council.

The Adults and Communities ‘Respect the Badge’ campaign will be appearing throughout the city during December, highlighting the issue of able bodied people who pretend to be the Blue Badge holder, usually a relative or friend. 90% of Blue Badge misuse is committed by family members of the Blue Badge holder, meaning that just 10% of Blue Badge misuse is done with stolen or fraudulently obtained Blue Badges from people who have died.

People who willingly let their Blue Badge be misused can have their badge withdrawn. Blue Badge holders using a legitimate Blue Badge to park in Birmingham City centre over the course of a year will save £4,500 to £5,500.

Common excuses used by perpetrators include claiming to have just dropped off or be picking up a disabled person, when in reality they are just using the badge for their own convenience, to park closer to venues or to avoid paying parking fees. Most Blue Badge misuse in the city occurs on the Birmingham city centre middle ring road.

Inspector Clive Isherwood of West Midlands Police, said:

"Blue Badge holders should not be colluding with friends or relatives to commit an offence. They need to take responsibility for looking after their own badge.

While many may see Blue Badge abuse as a victimless crime, it is illegal and is also taking freedom away from a disabled person, who may not be able to access a venue if all of the disabled bays are occupied by able bodied people who are either too cheap or too lazy to find their own parking space".

Since March 2009; in excess of 400 cases of suspected Blue Badge misuse have been detected, 240 Penalty Charge Notices have been issued, 120 vehicles have been removed, 85 cases have gone to magistrates Court, and the average fine is between £600 – £700, and costs £188.

Birmingham is in the forefront of work to stop blue badge abuse, and is one of just eight Local Authorities nationally to have been awarded Centre of Excellence’ (CoE) status and given £50,000 funding to promote and share good practice with other local authorities in the region. This will help improve consistency on the administration and enforcement of the current scheme.

Anyone wishing to report Blue Badge misuse in Birmingham can do so by calling 0121 303 7613, emailingparking@birmingham.gov.uk or online at www.birmingham.gov.uk/bluebadgemisuse.

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007 hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

Media Opportunity

Date: Thursday 19 November

Time: 2.30pm – 4pm

Venue: Louisa Ryland House, 44 Newhall Street, B3 3PL

2.30pm -240pm – The Blue Badge service in Birmingham, Centre of Excellence status, and Respect the Badge campaign

Mark Sirrell, lead officer Blue Badge service, Adults and Communities

2.40pm -2.50pm – Enforcing Blue Badge misuse in Birmingham

Gary Bullock, lead officer parking enforcement, Adults and Communities

2.50pm -3.00pm – Blue Badge service user perspective

Irene Wright, Chair of the Birmingham Access Committee and a Blue Badge user who drives an adapted vehicle

3.00pm – 3.05pm – Supporting the campaign

Councillor Sue Anderson, Cabinet Member, Adults and Communities

3.05pm – 3.45pm – Any questions and pictures outside with Irene Wright and her blue badge and adapted vehicle and the new campaign posters.

  • Category: Local Services
  • Reference number: null
  • Issue date: 16 November 2009