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The big blue badge amnesty: Council in bid to tackle system abuse
BOURNEMOUTH council is planning an amnesty on blue badges for disabled drivers in order to try to reduce the number of people abusing the system.
An amnesty will take place in August and will involve drop-in boxes being placed in libraries to encourage people to hand in invalid blue badges.
The idea was suggested by Labour Cllr Ben Grower, the chair of Bournemouth’s audit and governance committee.
It follows a council crackdown on blue badge abusers, which has seen 19 badges seized and one successful prosecution.
Blue badges are awarded to disabled people who meet selected criteria.
Holders have the right to park in disabled bays and on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours.
Cllr Grower said: “I just thought a blue badge amnesty might be worth trying.
“It’s not the biggest problem there is but it tends to annoy the general public as a whole when they see the system being abused.
“Even if people don’t actually hand in badges, it might bring the issue to the forefront.
“And it’s nice to know the council is not just in the business of prosecuting people.
“If we can help ease the problem by having amnesties and such like, I think that’s a good way for the council to act.
A council report to the last audit and governance meeting said: “The council is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities are provided with accessible parking around the town.
“With this in mind, dedicated spaces are available to those persons who are granted a disabled parking blue badge.
“The corporate fraud team has responded to referrals received and a recent blue badge drive in the town with the council’s civilian enforcement officers was successful.
"Liaisons with car park operators to identify those who abuse the scheme has led to “tip offs” and to badge seizures.”