The council has, this week, launched a simple-to-complete online form that makes it easier to report suspicions that any type of blue-badge fraud is going on. It asks for details of the vehicle involved, and what type of fraud is suspected, be it theft, misuse or alteration of the permit.
The initiative is the latest step taken by the council to stamp out the crime, and has been introduced against a background of seven proven cases of fraud over recent months, a case currently being prepared for prosecution, and a further 15 cases that are under investigation.
Local Government Association figures reveal that the number of blue-badge thefts nationally has risen from 656 in 2013 to 1,756 in 2014. The LGA highlights examples of thieves breaking into cars and retirement homes to steal the permits and using their ill-gotten gains for free parking or to sell on the black market.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, said:
Croydon has long been serious in its intention to catch and prosecute those who seek to take illegal advantage of a scheme designed to ease matters for disabled motorists.
The fraudulent use of disabled parking permits is something that angers both those that use the scheme responsibly and other motorists who see it being abused – and it’s an offence that we’ll continue to combat with the full weight of the law.
The new online form gives us another means of dealing with blue-badge fraud. It underlines the fact that we consider it an issue that has to be tackled head-on and shows that we mean to see it brought to an end in Croydon.