0207 370 0027 info@bbfi.org.uk

What do this year’s Department for Transport Blue Badge statistics tell us and what more needs to be done?

Blue Badge misuse prosecutions.

The Blue Badge scheme is an asset to millions and the latest Department for Transport Blue Badge statistics tells us that as of the 31st of March 2020 there are 2.44 million blue badges held in England. This is a 6.5% increase on 2019 and presents more reason to ensure that the scheme is enforced and that each Blue Badge is used correctly.

Blue Badge misuse is a criminal offence.

Looking at our own statistics we know that there is still a lot of work to be done to get the message across that misuse of Blue Badges is a criminal offence. From those local authorities that the team at BBFI have partnered with, 572 people were prosecuted in 2020. We also observed that with a usual average of 57 badges being seized a month (across a year) we saw up to 124 badges being seized in October 2020, the highest number we have ever seized in one month.

With a continued increase in badges being issued each year, 966,000 Blue Badges issued between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2020 an increase of 4.2% compared to 2018/19, there also needs to be an increase in enforcement. Of these issued badges 26,000 were issued under the new eligibility criteria for people with non-visible disabilities, meaning that on 31st March 2020 4.3% of the populate in England held a Blue Badge.

Why it is important to have a Blue Badge policy to prosecute in place?

It is encouraging that 105 local authorities do have a policy to prosecute misuse in place and at a time when there is increased pressure on many local authorities, 62% of those with a policy in place prosecuted individuals for misuse and 38% had no prosecutions despite having a policy in place.

The highest proportion of badges issued (2%) were in the North East, East Midlands and South West and the lowest proportion of badges issued (1.1%) were in London. These are all areas where we are already partnering with some authorities, supporting them in investigating, preparing cases for prosecution and providing support, training, and guidance.

How BBFI Public Sector Investigations can help to reduce misuse.

We strongly believe that taking a disabled persons badge is direct discrimination. Blue badge misuse is a criminal act which leads to a disabled person not being able to go about their everyday life. By not putting the correct policies in place local authorities are complicit in this discrimination.

There is clear government guidance on who is eligible for a Blue Badge on the Government website. BBFI take enforcement of the scheme seriously and strongly believe that by continuing to work with local authorities and investigating those suspected of misuse, and preparing cases for court and prosecution, we can continue to deter misuse and enforce the scheme nationwide.

Get in touch to find out more: 0207 370 0027 or info@bbfi.org.uk