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Friday, 13 December 2019 10:27

High Street check on blue badge fraud

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Officers from the blue badge fraud team checked cars in the High Street Officers from the blue badge fraud team checked cars in the High Street
Fraud officers from Barnet Council have conducted a sweep of cars parked in Barnet High Street and surrounding roads as part of a stepped-up campaign to detect fraudulent use of disabled blue badges.

Checks on the validity of blue badges – and interviews with drivers – came in the wake of complaints from residents in roads close to the Spires shopping centre who claim that there has been flagrant abuse in recent months.

Frequently vehicles have been seen displaying blue badges that are clearly out of date and often cars were being left by able-bodied drivers with no sign of a disabled blue badge holder.

Residents believe their only option – when space is at such a premium for their own cars in controlled parking zones – is to place warning reminders on car windscreens if fraud is suspected.

Declan Khan, Barnet Council’s head of counter fraud operations, told the Barnet Society that the counter fraud team advised against the use of do-it-yourself warning notices.

“We would far prefer residents suspecting blue badge abuse to contact the counter fraud team directly by using one of our phone lines, by emailing us the details or by going via the council’s website. (see below for list of contact details)

“Once we are told a blue badge number, we can identify it immediately in the system. We will know whether it is valid, lost, stolen, counterfeit or a forgery.

“We will also be able to tell whether the badge holder is male or female, their age, and whether or not they live in the area. We will know from the registration number of the car whether this is a persistent offender.

“Stickers or notes left on windscreens only assist people mis-using blue badges as it alerts them and as a result, they to try park somewhere else.

Of the 68 blue badges checked over the two days, five cases of misuse were identified, and two badges seized.

“This can be counter-productive for the fraud team as it can disrupt our own surveillance.

“We take full advantage of local CCTV and we build up intelligence on where blue badge fraud is taking place and the vehicles involved, so obviously we don’t want that surveillance to be interrupted.”

According to the anti-fraud team’s annual report for 2018-19, there was one street check in High Barnet on 17 September 2018 which was preceded by a sweep of roads in Burnt Oak.

Of the 68 blue badges checked over the two days, five cases of misuse were identified, and two badges seized.

There were a total of nine intelligence-led street checks in the borough during 2018-19 – including sweeps in Finchley, Golders Green, Temple Fortune and Hendon – which resulted in the seizure of a total of 43 blue badges.

These checks are carried out by the anti-fraud team supported by NSL parking enforcement officers and Barnet Police.

During the last 12 month period for which figures are available, the anti-fraud team dealt with a total of 412 cases of blue badge misuse; there were 69 successful prosecutions; 109 cases were closed with a caution; and 83 cases were dealt with by a warning letter sent to the badge holder or misuser.

Details for contacting the counter fraud team regarding blue badge misuse:
By telephone:
0208 359 5017
0208 359 3822
0208 359 4674

Or telephone Barnet Council’s fraud hotline – 0208 359 2007
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or via the council’s website: https://account.barnet.gov.uk/publicaccesslive/selfservice/citizenportal/login.htm

 

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