Unscrupulous motorists who misuse disabled ‘Blue Badges’ are being targeted by police following an agreement with local authorities.
The agreement now means officers can access real-time information on the Blue Badge Improvement Service database, allowing them to immediately identify people who are abusing the scheme.
The main thrust of extending access to the database for Police Scotland is to allow better enforcement and to support local authorities in identifying misuse.
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. 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. This means that we will be able to tackle those people who selfishly, and sometimes fraudulently, abuse the Blue Badge scheme.”
Minister for Transport & Islands 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 with local authorities to send a clear message that abuse of the scheme will not be tolerated.”
The agreement has also been welcomed by disability groups up and down the country who are keen to preserve the integrity of the Blue Badge scheme for those who rely on it.