Scotland

Database deal over blue badge misuse

Disabled parking space Image copyright PA

People who misuse disabled parking permits can now be immediately identified by the police.

It follows an agreement with Scotland's 32 local authorities which allows police officers to access information using the blue badge database.

Police said the move would allow better enforcement and support councils in identifying misuse of permits.

The administration and management of the scheme will remain the responsibility of local authorities.

'Important resource'

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: "The blue badge scheme is an important resource for people who really need it.

"Those who abuse the scheme make life harder for people who need to have access to places such as medical centres and social facilities.

"Abuse of the scheme can be as simple as a driver using a disabled relative's badge contrary to its conditions or failing to return a badge when the user no longer needs it."

She added: "It is important that people realise not only are they making life harder for others, but they may also be committing fraud, if they use a blue badge to obtain free parking to which they are not entitled.

"Working in partnership with local authorities across the country, our officers will now be able to verify instantly any blue badge issued anywhere in Scotland."

Image copyright Getty Images

Scotland's Minister for Transport Derek Mackay said: "This is a fantastic tool that will help local authorities in their bid to tackle abuse of the blue badge scheme.

"Misuse of the scheme can have a significant impact on the lives of badge holders throughout Scotland that is why I am pleased Police Scotland is working collaboratively with local authorities to send a clear message that abuse of the scheme will not be tolerated."

Scottish Disability Equality Forum chief executive Susan Grasekamp welcomed the move.

She said: "The Scottish Disability Equality Forum is delighted that Police Scotland is taking the issue of Blue Badge misuse seriously."

Stephen Hagan, from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said: "Cosla Members welcome the ability for local authorities to better enforce the use of blue badges and to quickly address situations where badges are being misused through this agreement."

In 2014, the Scottish Parliament passed new laws to crack down on drivers who abuse disabled parking.

The legislation gave councils powers to confiscate and cancel blue badges which are misused.

At the time, Holyrood's local government committee said misuse of the blue badge scheme was having a "major impact" on the lives of people who relied on disabled parking spaces.

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