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Great Britain

Blue badge measures delayed

A CLAMPDOWN on blue badge fraudsters in Stockton has been delayed – but will be rolled out “in the very near future”.

But the latest place select committee heard efforts had been held back due to costs and staffing problems.

A report for the meeting stated: “Training has been delayed due to extended bereavement leave and the costs for Leeds City Council to undertake the training.

“However, the council’s legal department are able to help arrange this training and is due to progress in the near future.

“Enforcement officers have the resources and mechanisms ready to proceed with the prosecutions once the training is completed.”

Councils have the power to confiscate any blue badge given out in England and Wales for misuse or fraud.

Stockton Council handed out 139 fines for parking is disabled bays without a valid badge in 2017/18 – and its civic enforcement officers do seize fake, stolen, expired and misused badges. But it does not yet prosecute motorists for blue badge fraud.

The council’s 2018 review into disabled parking revealed the average legal cost for each case would come to about £200 for the authority – with the aim of recouping costs through the courts.

It also estimated training costs for enforcement staff would come to £500 – to make sure they knew the law and how to gather appropriate evidence in investigations.

Tony Wrigglesworth, senior parking engineer at the council, told the committee the cost of training offered by Leeds City Council had “put off” the authority.

He added: “What we’ve actually done is we’ve looked internally for other options and we’ve found a barrister who is able to deliver it for our enforcement officers which is at a slightly more reasonable rate.”

Mr Wrigglesworth said the enforcement team would be getting the half-day training “in the very near future”.

It is hoped the training will be done in the next two months.

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