Tackling Blue Badge fraud in Exmouth

PUBLISHED: 14:46 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:55 10 June 2010

AGE Concern Exmouth has backed a crackdown on the misuse of disabled badges - but sought assurances that it will not affect legitimate holders. New powers have been given to Devon County Council to confiscate forged, stolen or misused badges in a £55 mill

AGE Concern Exmouth has backed a crackdown on the misuse of disabled badges - but sought assurances that it will not affect legitimate holders.New powers have been given to Devon County Council to confiscate forged, stolen or misused badges in a £55 million shake-up of the Blue Badge scheme.Transport Minister Paul Clark, said the scheme will include a nationwide council data base to reduce Blue Badge associated vehicle crime, and safeguard parking, close to vital services, for the disabled.The Department for Transport is also looking at new technologies to make badges harder to forge, including barcodes that can be read through windscreens. Chief Officer of Age Concern Exmouth, Steve Dace, said: "We do not condone the misuse of disabled badges - but we want assurances that the systems will be robust enough so the people who need them do not lose out." More than 12,000 Blue Badges are issued by Devon County Council a year - and in a recent poll 73 per cent of users said that confiscation was the best way to tackle the growing problem.Paul Clark MP said: "Two thirds of councils tell us abuse of the scheme is a major issue - and that around one in every 200 badges in circulation are reported as stolen each year. "And with forged or stolen badges reportedly being sold on the black market for up to £1,500 a time, it is time to get tough. "Alongside this we need to make sure that everyone who needs a badge receives one."A spokesman for Devon County Council said: "We welcome the reforms aimed at tackling inappropriate use of blue badges. "We await further detail, especially on areas such as temporary blue badges and how local authorities might legally enforce against inappropriate use of blue badges. "In Devon the police currently investigate inappropriate use of disabled blue badges. It is considered that the blue badge scheme is well-respected in Devon and it would not appear that fraud or misuse is as high as in other authorities."If you suspect a blue badge is being misused call: (0845) 1551007.

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