A concerted effort by NSL to address the high incidence of blue badge fraud on behalf of The London Borough of Ealing is delivering outstanding results. As an extension of the enforcement specialist’s work to maximise compliance with parking regulations across the borough, nearly fifty prosecutions were made in the first six months of the clampdown.
“The abuse of blue badges is not a victimless crime,” says Martin Hill, NSL’s Contract Account Manager. “It creates a major problem for those in genuine need of parking concessions, undermines the viability and effectiveness of the blue badge scheme and places significant costs on any local authority. That’s why we’re so determined to address the problem and we’re absolutely delighted that our approach is proving to be so effective.”
NSL is working closely with specialist investigators from BBFI to address blue badge fraud for local authorities all over the country and has already protected nearly £330million of local authority revenue. In Ealing, undercover surveillance is supported by NSL’s team of Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) and real-time communication technologies to help identify lost, stolen or fraudulent badges. Each CEO has also received additional training – covering disability and a detailed briefing on relevant legislation and local policies – to recognise the potential misuse of blue badges during routine enforcement patrols. As well as undertaking badge verification checks, the CEOs also have the authority to confiscate any blue badges that are being misused or abused.
In the first six months of the programme for the London Borough of Ealing, over 1,300 badges were checked against the national database, over 240 personally inspected and 55 blue badges were seized by CEOs. In addition to many verbal warnings to maximise compliance with blue badge rules, the Council pursued 47 prosecution cases and just under £1.5million of the authority’s revenue has been protected.
“Although we’ve come across a number of fake badges and have seized many cancelled badges, it’s the mis-use of valid badges by friends or family that is the biggest problem,” says NSL’s Pamela Slater, NSL’s Blue Badge expert. “But there really is no excuse. It’s totally unacceptable to defraud disabled people of their right to social support, to disregard regulations that apply to all motorists and to deprive a local authority of parking revenues when budgets are under so much pressure. We’re now able to ensure compliance and target such selfish behaviour more effectively than ever before. So if any motorist continues to misuse blue badges they need to be prepared for the consequences – it’s a criminal offence and can lead to a very hefty fine of £1,000 plus any additional charges.”
According to the Department for Transport, the evasion of parking and congestion charges from the misuse of blue badges can cost local authorities in the capital more than £5,500 every year per badge. Working closely with BBFI investigators, NSL’s work to combat blue badge fraud has resulted in the seizure of a huge number of blue badges and many successful prosecutions. For example, the first year of NSL’s partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and Sussex Police and NSL resulted in the confiscation of nearly 400 blue badges, 58 prosecutions and well over 120 Community Resolution Orders.
For further information, please contact Luke Allen, Director of Communications, 07468 701361, or Luke.Allen@nsl.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
NSL is a leading UK company specialising in the delivery and management of frontline services in complex public sector and regulated environments. Our core services include business process management; enforcement; passenger and social transport; street management and technical design services. We currently have over 70 contracts with local, regional and central government, as well as with the airport and the private sector, and have delivered contracts for high-profile government agencies, such as The Royal Parks, DVLA, Transport for London and Transport Northern Ireland.