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Huge rise in blue badge theft in Ealing and across London

Over the last 10 years, the number of blue badges stolen across London including Ealing has risen from 1,230 in 2014 to 6,415 in 2023.

In Ealing alone, thefts of blue badges rose from 78 in 2018 to nearly 500 in 2023.

London Assembly Member Unmesh Desai, who revealed the Metropolitan Police reporting number, said it was the result of “overstretched police budgets and underfunded councils” and needs investment in people to tackle those stealing badges.

He said: “These figures are the outcome of a perfect storm of underfunding and neglect of disabled Londoners. Londoners have seen overstretched police budgets and underfunded councils, both of whom need investment into staff and training to catch those using stealing and misusing badges.”

Mr Desai, the Labour policing and crime spokesperson added: “With the right funding, training and data sharing to help protect disabled drivers from being targeted by criminals, we can tackle this problem. I also encourage blue badge holders to hide their badges overnight or purchase a Blue Badge Protector.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, an Ealing Council spokesperson said: “Sadly, the theft and fraudulent use of blue badges is on the rise, both nationally and in our borough. In 2023, almost 500 blue badges were stolen, compared to 78 in 2018, and the number of thefts rose steadily in the intervening years.

“We want to ensure that blue badges are available to the people who really rely on them for support. That is why we always take tough action against people who commit blue badge fraud, and in recent months, more than 20 people have been taken to court. As blue badges are so important to their users, we always work to replace blue badges that are reported stolen as quickly as possible.

“In addition to checking their validity, we have taken several steps to address blue badge theft in the borough. We offer a free resident parking permit, which allows the resident to park in the zone where they live without needing to display a blue badge in their vehicle. If a resident has a dedicated blue badge bay outside their property, we offer a disabled bay permit. We also advise badge holders who have been a victim of theft to consider purchasing a blue badge lock once they receive their new badge.

“If you suspect someone of using a blue badge fraudulently or want to report your blue badge as lost or stolen, you can call the council on 020 8825 8161.”

Paul Stowey, founder of Blue Badge Fraud Investigations said: “These statistics are a sad reflection on London in 2024. The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members, but on average 18 Londoners a day find themselves a victim of crime purely because they are disabled. This is clearly unacceptable.”

Mr Stowey added: “I warn offenders: the badges have serial numbers on the front. They are easy to identify and it’s an easy crime to solve if the police can prioritise it. The courts take a very dim view of drivers who use stolen badges.”

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