Sutton Council is among the top 10 local authorities in England in taking legal action the most against disabled badge cheats. Sutton carried out 21 Blue Badge prosecutions between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2015, and was one of six local authorities carrying out between 20 and 60 prosecutions during this period.
The data from the Department of Transport shows a total of 985 prosecutions around the country. Of these, the vast majority of prosecutions were against drivers using someone else's Blue Badge without the badge holder being present.
Sutton Council is hoping to rise up the 'Top 10 table' as it has prosecuted 43 drivers for misusing Blue Badges since the beginning of 2014. In addition, court papers are being prepared against a further five drivers and arrest warrants have been issued against two drivers who failed to turn up to court.
Police and Sutton Council Parking Services' officers carry out regular joint patrols to stop misuse of the borough's 500 disabled parking bays, which are for residents who have permanent or severe mobility difficulties and want to park conveniently for the shops.
Blue Badges are issued for the sole use of a named individual and are only valid when it is being used by, or for, the disabled person when that person is present. It is stated clearly on the Badge that misuse may constitute a criminal offence.
Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:
"These figures show how much Sutton Council and the Met Police are doing together with their regular joint patrols to protect the borough's limited number of dedicated disabled bays.
"I am very grateful to the small team we have who do a huge amount of work to ensure Blue Badge Holders can park near the shops. We will continue to take action against the small minority of drivers who think they can misuse Blue Badges for their own convenience."
The vast majority of Sutton's 7,144 Blue Badge Holders use the Badges as they are intended. However, a small minority of drivers deliberately misuse the Blue Badge privilege.