Man misusing a Blue Badge ‘should have been named and shamed’
Councillors have criticised a decision not to ‘name and shame’ a man who was fined for misuse of a Blue Badge.
The Mid Sussex man was one of 14 recently prosecuted in a crackdown on misuse of the disability badges, which was run by county and borough councils across West Sussex in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council.
After being spotted using the badge – which did not belong to him – to park on single-yellow lines near his workplace, he was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay £6,000 court costs.
Despite being found guilty by a jury of using a Blue Badge with intent to deceive – meaning he has a criminal record – his name was not made public.
At a Mid Sussex District Council meeting on Wednesday evening (March 27), Gordon Marples (Con, Hassocks) asked for an explanation.
Mr Marples said: “I followed the reports on the Blue Badge fraudster. It’s clearly not a one-off job – he’s a repeat offender.
“If you go speeding on the A23, the press gets hold of your name. This man remained anonymous and I would like to know why.”
Gary Marsh, cabinet member for service delivery, told the meeting that the council did not ‘in any shape or form support any abuse of the Blue Badge scheme’.
He added: “If it had been me, Cllr Marples, I would have named and shamed him. But unfortunately the prosecution was taken by Brighton and Hove City Council on behalf of East and West Sussex.
“They’re the ones who took the decision not to name the person.
“And you’re right – nine times he was clocked using this blue badge, and I think that’s nine times too much.
“He should have been named and shamed.”
A spokesman for Brighton & Hove City Council said the decision was made by West Sussex County Council.
The county council, which regularly names people prosecuted for Trading Standards breaches, said the idea was ‘to make people aware of the successful rates of prosecution’, adding the name of the offenders could be found through court records.
According to a WSCC press release issued at the start of March:
Officers, working with Sussex Police, have also issued a number of official warnings, called community resolutions. These are offered in some circumstances as a first-level way of dealing with offences without taking people to court. They are formal warnings in which people agree to attend an information and education session where they learn about the consequences of their actions.
Since August, 2017:
• 14 cases have been sent for prosecution - all successful;
• A total of 100 people have completed a community resolution;
• 209 disabled Blue Badges have been retained. Badges are returned to the badge holders after council officers have dealt with the misuse.
• 85 disabled Blue Badges have been destroyed: examples of this are where a badge holder displays an expired or cancelled badge, or someone displaying a deceased person’s permit.
There are currently 35,000 Blue Badges on issue in West Sussex. Blue Badges enable drivers and passengers with severe mobility problems to park close to the services they need to access.
Search for “Blue Badge scheme” at www.westsussex.gov.uk for more information.