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Tackling the Abuse of Off-Street Parking for People With Disabilities in Scotland



6.1 Introduction

This chapter summarises the findings of the assessment in relation to the attitudes and reactions of the research participants who had abused parking bays reserved for disabled people (referred to as 'bay abusers'), the participants from the focus groups comprising disabled people, and the participants from the focus groups comprising non-disabled people who had not abused bays (referred to as 'non- abusers'). Firstly, a summary of the evidence review on the psychology of enforcement is presented. This is then followed by the findings of the focus group discussions with disabled people on the impacts of abuse and the need for greater enforcement before the research participants' reactions to the intervention measures are assessed.

A more detailed assessment of general attitudes to reserved parking facilities for disabled people and the experiences of disabled people in using these facilities is included in Annex Two.

6.2 The Psychology of Enforcement: An Overview

6.2.1 Evidence from previous studies

The desk-top review identified little knowledge relating to drivers' reactions to either being prevented from parking in a reserved parking space, or being fined for doing so. Figures were quoted as to compliance rates in relation to the payment of fines (see section 7.3.2), but no evidence was found of people's attitude to being fined, or of their propensity to re-offend. Ultimately, a preventative intervention measure will only have the desired effect of changing behaviour if its purpose is clear and if it is perceived by the public as being fair and just. Whether drivers who have been deterred from abusing reserved parking spaces decide to park elsewhere in the same car park, or go to another car park or city, is not known. Similarly, no evidence-base was found as to drivers' future actions, in terms of how, say, a sticker on the windscreen, or a fine, might influence their behaviour the next time they require a parking space. Most importantly, there have been no studies into any long-term effects that intervention policies might have in educating the motoring public as to the needs of disabled people, or in changing people's attitudes towards the provision of reserved parking facilities. Awareness campaigns such as those adopted by Almondvale Shopping Centre in Livingston, WM Morrisons and particularly the 'Enabled Parking' Scheme sponsored by Tesco have each produced encouraging results, as advertising campaigns to highlight the issue as well as announcements to 'sound out' perpetrators have produced a positive response from most members of the public involved. However, First ScotRail have reported that their leafleting campaigns to tackle this issue have produced mixed results due to variations in staffing levels and the volume of parking spaces per station. Overall it is difficult to conclude how effective these campaigns have been both in the short and long term.

6.2.2 Primary evidence

Within all the focus group discussions, but especially those comprising disabled people, the majority of participants thought that intervention was necessary. Disabled people reported experiencing many problems trying to find suitable parking in off-street car parks. They experienced difficulties in all types of car park contexts, although hospitals and supermarkets were cited as being amongst the worst places to find somewhere to park and that trying to find somewhere to park was often quite stressful. The impacts of abuse on the disabled participants caused them to:

  • Spend a long time searching or waiting for a reserved parking space to become available
  • Park quite far from the destination and struggle to walk to it
  • Abandon their trip altogether
  • Miss hospital appointments

Disabled participants generally felt very strongly that reserved parking facilities should be policed and better enforced than they currently are. Most disabled participants pointed out that there was very little intervention for enforcing the reserved bays, which they thought was a major factor influencing their abuse. Disabled people suggested introducing legislation and using an intervention measure such as a fixed penalty fine.

Non-disabled participants (non abusers) generally thought that the bays should be enforced in the same way as any other traffic offence. However, some participants felt less strongly about intervention; these participants tended to be the younger participants of the groups and believed that the provision of reserved parking facilities for disabled people was greater than the demand for them.

Participants, who abused reserved parking facilities, gave mixed reactions, which could be linked to their behaviour. Most of the participants who fell within the 'justified', 'reluctant', and 'in denial' behavioural categories of abuse expressed agreement with, and support for, the intervention of disabled people's parking facilities, while most of the 'persistent' abusers held the view that intervention was unnecessary because they did not believe abuse was a problem for disabled people. This was due to the fact that they had seen reserved parking facilities not in use by disabled people.

When introduced to the measures, all participants, including disabled people, abusers and non-abusers, were asked for their first impressions, what they perceived to be the possible benefits and disadvantages, and whether they felt there was a need for additional intervention. The findings are summarised below, for each category of intervention measure.

6.3 Driver Reactions to Possible Measures

Most of the participants (including bay abusers and non-abusers) had seen and encountered measures for people parking inappropriately at supermarkets, retail parks, hospitals and private car parks before (including polite notices, stickering, bay design and patrolled car parks).

6.3.1 Polite notices, stickering

Most of the participants (bay abusers) had received a polite notice or sticker for parking in a disabled person's bay. Some of them considered it to be a good way of reminding someone if they had accidentally parked in a reserved bay. A sticker was regarded as more effective than a non-adhesive polite notice, because it can be an inconvenience to drivers and a way of embarrassing them, while people are likely to ignore and throw a polite notice away. However, it was strongly felt that for those who park for reasons that are unjustified, a sticker would have very little effect - as it had with most of the participants who had received one (at hospitals, retail parks and train stations).

It was highlighted by some participants (bay abusers) that the value of the parking bay is more to them than the inconvenience of a sticker, as the following quotes illustrate: "when parking in disabled bays, people do it because they are under pressure so a warning isn't worth leaving the space" (Persistent abuser, Falkirk). "I always got caught out for it but all they did was put a sticker on my window… I was heavily pregnant and couldn't be bothered to walk so didn't care about the sticker." (Justified abuser, Monklands)

Within the focus groups of disabled people in Glasgow and Inverness, there were some participants who claimed to issue their own polite notices and stickers on cars parked in reserved bays without the Blue Badge on display that stated "if you take my parking space, do you want my disability as well".

An issue of concern raised on the use of stickering which the research participants (bay abusers and non-abusers) felt should be addressed prior to implementation related to the legality of placing stickers on vehicles. Participants felt that this could be potentially dangerous if it obstructs the driver's view or causes damage to the vehicle.

It was also suggested that large stickers that cause inconvenience but do not compromise safety should be used and that the message on the notice/sticker should highlight the impacts of abuse on a disabled person, in addition to asking the vehicle owner not to use a reserved parking bay when they are not entitled to.

6.3.2 Good bay design

This measure includes clear, visible signs, use of bright colours and contrast to outline bays. Although this was regarded as being essential and beneficial to disabled people, it was not seen as a deterrent to abuse, because nothing can stop unauthorised users from entering the bay.

Nevertheless, this measure was liked because:

  • Drivers cannot deny that have parked where they are not entitled to park
  • Disabled people benefit from clearer bay markings and better overall design

It was pointed out that surface paint should be non-slip and weather resistant.

6.3.3 Patrolled car parks

This approach was liked by most participants because:

  • It was considered to work well at hospitals, airports and multi-storey car parks
  • It was believed to enhance people's feeling of security when using car parks
  • It allows people to make a judgment call, and patrol staff can be sympathetic towards people who have a reasonable excuse for using the facilities and in circumstances where demand is low, or outside peak times (this was considered to be particularly important to endorse at hospital sites)
  • Most importantly, it was considered to be an effective measure in deterring abuse, as the following quotes illustrate: "Physical presence is always a threat" (Former abuser, Monklands). "British people still pay attention to someone in a uniform" (Justified abuser, Edinburgh)

The following concerns were raised in relation to patrolled car parks:

  • Abusive/persistent behaviour from the service users - this was a concern, particularly for hospital car parks, which were identified as being "very stressful" for all users (visitors, patients and staff), and where people are likely to be more emotional for a variety of reasons
  • Effectiveness would depend on the individual(s) patrolling the car park - it was thought that some patrollers might be more vigilant than others

The following suggestions were made:

  • Patrolling officers must be uniformed, as this suggests authority, which was considered to deter many potential abusers
  • 'Friendly' approach to be adopted by patrolling officers

6.3.4 Electronic barrier

There was generally a high awareness of electronic barriers used to control access to reserved parking areas (mainly at hospitals and multi-storey car parks). This measure was generally well received by participants (including disabled people, bay abusers and non-abusers), because it physically prevents abuse and because unauthorised service users have no option but to park elsewhere. However, possible problems and concerns were raised in relation to its use for enforcing off-street reserved parking, as follows:

  • Technical breakdown - it was pointed out by many participants that technology does break down and needs to be properly maintained in order to maximise its use and benefits. One respondent noted that at one supermarket car park the barrier system had broken down for a long time, and was open to abuse. Some participants were also aware of systems damaging cars because they did not work properly.
  • Segregation - some non-disabled participants (non-abusers) felt that a barrier system would draw attention to disabled people and make them feel segregated. However, this was not a concern raised by disabled participants who were generally in favour of this measure.
  • It was suggested that people with certain disabilities, for example, reduced manual dexterity or upper limb impairments, might have difficulty operating the system should it be self-service
  • Fraudulent use of entry cards

Participants questioned how users would operate the barrier; would users have to apply for an entry card/code via the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency ( DVLA) or through the service provider, or would they be given a card at the point of service? It was suggested that users should apply to the DVLA or the service provider, as accessing the card at the point of service might not be accessible or practical. It was felt, however, that users should have the option to access a card from the service provider at the point of service to ensure access.

Overall, the barrier system was regarded as a good idea in principle, but there was concern about its practical application and whether it would be feasible in off-street car parks such as supermarkets and smaller car parks: "you would have to have a large segregated area." (Persistent abuser, Falkirk)

The barrier system was regarded as an appropriate measure to implement at hospital car parks, as such sites can accommodate the space. For example, the system at a hospital in Glasgow which is used for staff parking (staff who car-share benefit from secure parking close to the entrance) was cited as an example of good practice.

6.3.5 Remote controlled mini-barrier system for bays

Initially, participants (bay abusers and non-abusers), reacted very positively to this measure, although they had not heard of it, or seen it, before. It was generally regarded as a "good idea" as it prevents unauthorised people from using the bay. However, the participants identified possible disadvantages, such as:

  • Technical failure
  • Loss or theft of handheld devices - it was suggested that sites should be managed to ensure disabled people have access
  • Handheld devices being copied and sold on the black market
  • People might park erratically either in front or behind the barrier
  • Motorcycles are able to use the space
  • Vulnerability to vandalism
  • Potential accidents as a result of people hitting the barrier, or technical failure
  • Exclusion of people with certain disabilities that might make using a handheld device very difficult, for example, reduced manual dexterity and upper limb impairments

Participants also questioned whether it would be practically feasible to use a barrier system in every reserved bay and doubted the willingness of service providers, such as supermarkets, to cover the costs.

The following additional measures were regarded as necessary to increase the effectiveness of a mini-barrier system:

  • Effective bay design to prevent blockage and misuse of the parking space, as it was pointed out that a vehicle could still park in the parking bay (horizontally) or a motorbike could be easily parked in the space.
  • Operate the barrier by a chip attached to the Blue Badge that can be scanned when the user wants to use the space, rather than a handheld device, so that disabled people do not have to worry about losing or operating it. This way, the user would not have to worry about the possible problems of applying for and accessing a handheld device at the point of service, and would be able to gain access at any time.
  • Opening the barrier for others to use outside peak hours (as suggested by abusers) when demand is low.

Despite these concerns, the remote controlled mini-barrier was a popular measure with disabled and non-disabled participants (including bay abusers and non-abusers) and was generally regarded as a good idea, at least in principle.

"you've got to be fair to disabled people, because they need those spaces as well… it [remote controlled mini-barrier] would make people stop and realise the space is reserved for disabled people" (Persistent abuser, Falkirk)

6.3.6 Automatic electronic announcement for bay users

A lot of participants were intrigued by this measure as they had not seen or encountered it before, with the exception of some participants who claimed that they had seen this measure at Asda supermarkets in England and Scotland (Inverness) but did not know how it worked.

Some participants (especially persistent abusers) particularly liked this approach because it does not damage the car or impinge on people's privacy or civil rights. In this respect they commended the measure because it allows drivers to make a conscious decision to park or leave the bay. Therefore, they cannot later deny that they had parked inappropriately. They also liked it because it does not penalise those who use the bay accidentally or have a genuine need to use it.

The participants who abused bays said that they would initially be reluctant to use a bay with an automated electronic announcement because of ambiguity about the consequences. However, most of them (including the persistent and justified bay abusers) indicated that they would not be deterred once they became aware of its function and would not be embarrassed by an audio announcement. In order to deter all potential abusers of disabled people's parking bays additional enforcement such as a patrolled car park was considered to be necessary.

The perceived disadvantages and concerns in relation to this type of approach included the following:

  • Familiarity - it was expected that the system would be effective initially and in the short-term because people would be deterred as they would be uncertain about the consequences. From the picture, shown to participants, some participants who were abusers thought the measure was a rising bollard and did not like the idea of their car being damaged. However, as people become more familiar with the system and see other people using the bays when they are not entitled to, it was felt that the system would be ignored and ineffective. Reluctant abusers on the other hand are likely to be deterred by an audio announcement and/or confrontation.
  • Impact on disabled people - the non-disabled participants of the focus group discussions thought that an electronic announcement would embarrass disabled people; however, this was not a concern of the disabled participants.
  • Technical failure.

6.3.7 Automatic Number Plate Recognition ( ANPR)

Initially most participants were unclear about what this measure would entail in relation to the enforcement of disabled people's parking facilities. It was associated mainly with congestion charging, speed enforcement, traffic lights, and checking vehicle tax but the impact of misusing a parking bay with this measure was not clear.

After the measure was explained to participants, there was a general acceptance of the idea, with the exception of some participants (persistent abusers) who were not in favour of closed-circuit television ( CCTV) cameras, as it felt too much like "Big Brother".

Other participants thought ANPR was a good idea because it can be used to check vehicle tax and insurance as well as help to enforce disabled people's parking facilities. It was also suggested that the measure could be used to monitor the abuse of the Blue Badge. Another perceived benefit of ANPR was that the technology could not be tampered with.

Some participants (including bay abusers), however, suggested that this measure would be ignored by potential abusers, based on the perception that existing measures such as CCTV, sometimes do not work or are not switched on: "half the time they [ CCTV cameras] don't work"
(Persistent abuser, Falkirk)

Overall, there was some cynicism generally towards high technology measures such as ANPR, for reasons highlighted above, with some participants expressing a preference for low technology measures, as illustrated by the following quote: "high-tech breaks down, low-tech works much better" (Reluctant abuser, Monklands)

6.3.8 The use of traffic wardens/imposing fines

There was generally a high awareness of the use of traffic wardens, but only in relation to the enforcement of on-street parking.

Participants who had abused disabled people's parking facilities expressed a general dislike towards traffic wardens. Most of the abusers, particularly the persistent type, had negative encounters with traffic wardens in which they felt they were treated unfairly, for example, getting penalised for exceeding parking time by two minutes. Traffic wardens were mainly criticised for being furtive and waiting to catch people out. However, the disabled and non-disabled (non-abusers) participants commended this approach as it was believed to work well on-street, and thought it could be applied successfully off-street. It was generally felt that the presence of traffic wardens and the threat of a fine would deter many potential abusers from parking in a bay reserved for disabled people. "I hate the furtive, underhand way of enforcing parking." (Persistent abuser, Edinburgh)

The following disadvantages were raised with the use of traffic wardens to enforce off-street disabled people's parking facilities:

  • Some participants in Glasgow, including disabled and non-disabled people (non-abusers), disagreed with the use of traffic wardens on the basis that they work on commission and are therefore prone to issue more tickets than is necessary.
  • The fixed penalty system can sometimes mean that low-income households, or people with justified reasons (e.g. parent and child, person with a temporary mobility), are affected more than those who abuse bays on a regular basis and can afford to pay a £30 fine.

Overall, the use of traffic wardens to enforce off-street disabled people's parking facilities was considered to be a possible measure and a very effective deterrent particularly if deployed during peak times because "people know that traffic wardens mean business".

6.3.9 Vehicle removal

In terms of vehicle removal, participants had seen or heard about it being implemented in city centres for inappropriate on-street parking, citing Edinburgh and Glasgow as examples. Some of the bay abusers who fell into the 'persistent' category had encountered this measure with negative experiences but this did not deter all of them from repeating the offence.

Vehicle removal was generally regarded as a strong deterrent to potential abusers of reserved parking bays and likely to deter most abusers. However, it was pointed out by the participants who had abused bays that persistent abusers are likely to defy the measure or try to manipulate it in some way.

The following issues of concern were raised for vehicle removal:

  • Operation - a main issue of concern for most participants (including disabled people and bay abusers) was how these measures would be operated. There was concern that this would be contracted out to profit-making companies, so that motorists could be treated unfairly.
  • Low-income households - it was felt that the effectiveness of the measures in deterring bay abusers would depend on the individual's socio-economic circumstances, with people from low-income households likely to be most affected.
  • It was considered unfair to penalise users who have a genuine or justifiable reason to use the reserved bay, e.g. people who have a temporary disability or need to park because of an emergency.
  • Practical application - participants could not see the measures working at multi-storey car parks.

Persistent abusers particularly disliked vehicle removal, as illustrated by the following quote: "[vehicle removal] would probably deter people but would antagonise law breakers like myself." (Persistent abuser, Inverness)

It was a widely held view that vehicle removal would deter some if not most abusers but not all. "50% would steer clear, the other 50% would still take a chance", (Justified abuser, Inverness)

Suggestions for the implementation of vehicle removal for preventing the abuse of disabled people's parking facilities included:

  • Clear signage (essential) - users need to be aware that they must display their Blue Badge or face the consequences
  • Release fee of £50-£80
  • Report cases of vehicle removal in local newspapers (to raise awareness)
  • The use of a single organisation or regulation body to operate the measures using a set of guidelines, and in a fair manner

The majority of the disabled and non-disabled (non-abusers) participants were generally against measures such as vehicle removal, based on the concerns listed above. Vehicle removal was regarded as appropriate for first time offenders. It was suggested that first time offenders should receive a sticker and/or a fine to warn them that they face vehicle removal should they repeat the offence.

6.4 Other 'Suggested' Measures

Although the following measures (points on driving licence and wheel clamping) are not actually legally possible for the enforcement of off-street parking in Scotland, participants nevertheless were asked for their general attitudes to their deployment in the future, should they be legal.

6.4.1 Points on driving licence

On first impression, this measure was considered to be quite a 'harsh' consequence of abusing bays intended for use by disabled people. Nevertheless it was regarded as potentially one of the most effective deterrents to parking abuse: "that's harsh, that's very harsh, but it would definitely work" (Justified abuser, Inverness). "It works for drink driving" (Abuser in denial, Falkirk)

Interestingly, non-disabled participants (non-abusers) thought that this was an appropriate intervention measure for parking bays reserved for disabled people, while many disabled participants considered licence points to be "too severe" and disabled people in Inverness did not think it would ever be implemented. However, the stakeholders (service providers and organisations representing the interests of service users with disabilities) at the workshop supported this approach as they thought that it would be taken seriously by the public but it was not regarded as a realistic option in the foreseeable future.

Concerns were raised about this measure in relation to the following possible impacts:

  • The impact on insurance premiums without the insurance company knowing the real reason for the points.
  • Impacts unrelated to the original parking offence, for example, to lose a driving licence, which could have other negative consequences, such as someone losing their job.
  • Some of the justified abusers were concerned about how the licence points would be applied - automatically or via court. If it is an automatic process the measure was considered to be a strong deterrent, however, it was suggested that, if the licence points are issued after a 'court case' it would be less of a deterrent because in a court case actions can be considered and justified.

The justification of this measure was considered by some participants to depend on the legality of parking in reserved parking spaces in off-street car parks. Some participants did not believe the abuse of reserved off-street parking facilities to be illegal and therefore could not see this measure working in practice.

It was suggested by the participants who abused bays that it would be most appropriate and fair to penalise drivers with licence penalty points after they have abused facilities more than three times and after receiving a polite notice, sticker or fine. Here it was suggested that 3 points should be added to their licence, and if the driver continues to abuse parking facilities increase the penalty to 6, and then 9. It was suggested that if a person reaches 12 points make them take their driving test again and make the offense on a par with a drink driving offence. It was also suggested by disabled people and non bay abusers that licence points would be appropriate to enforce on the 3 rd or 4 th time that a person is caught abusing the facilities. It was not considered to be necessary or justified to impose this measure on people who have used reserved parking bays for very short periods of time e.g. 5-10 minutes.

6.4.2 Wheel clamping

Some participants claimed that they had seen wheel clamping in operation at off-street car parks in Scotland. Many other participants had (correctly) understood this to be an illegal activity in Scotland and suggested that people might ignore the warnings because of this.

The reactions to wheel clamping for the enforcement of off-street parking facilities for disabled people in Scotland were similar to those for vehicle removal. The same concerns were raised with regard to its operation and its potential impacts on low-income households, and people who have justified reasons for using a bay. Participants identified other consequences of wheel clamping which might incur further costs, for example, should the vehicle not have road tax and is taken to a compound as a result.

Persistent abusers particularly disliked wheel clamping, as the following quote illustrates: "no one has the right to touch my car and damage my wheels"(Persistent abuser, Inverness)

Should wheel clamping become a legal method in the future for the enforcement of parking facilities for disabled people in off-street car parks in Scotland, it was considered to be most appropriate to implement at car parks where there is a major problem, such as hospitals. Suggestions made with regard to its implementation were the same as those expressed on vehicle removal:

  • Clear signage (essential) - users need to be aware that they must display their Blue Badge or face the consequences.
  • Release fee of £50-£80.
  • Report cases of wheel clamping in local newspapers (to raise awareness).
  • The use of a single organisation or regulation body to operate the measures using a set of guidelines, and in a fair manner.

6.5 Additional Measures Suggested

Some of the possible measures for enforcing parking for disabled people were not regarded as offering adequate intervention. Warnings (polite notices and stickers), patrolled car parks and good bay design were considered to be necessary, but should be used in conjunction with other measures. Additional measures suggested included:

  • Fixed penalty fine.
  • Number plate recognition to identify abusers and monitor abuse.
  • Giving the patrolling officers the same authority as a traffic warden.

As an alternative measure to wheel clamping and vehicle removal, some participants suggested that fines should be imposed instead - the fine should be on the spot and the penalty should increase with the number of times the offence is repeated.

Additional measures were suggested with the implementation of ANPR, as follows:

  • Nearly all participants felt it was necessary to use additional measures, such as sending a letter to the vehicle owner to inform them of the offense, and threatening them with a fixed penalty fine should they do it again.
  • At supermarkets, it was suggested that the registration numbers should be read out over the audio announcement system to 'name and shame'.
  • Clear signage - it was regarded as unfair to motorists if they are not aware of the possible impacts and to ensure that drivers do not ignore the measure or associate it with other purposes such as checking vehicle tax.

6.6 Summary

Tables 6.1 and 6.2 highlights the key findings of the focus groups (including disabled people, and non-disabled people who did not abuse bays) and depth interviews (including bay abusers), in terms of reactions to the intervention measures listed above, their likely effectiveness and appropriate contexts. The likely behavioural responses of the participants who abused disabled people's parking facilities to the intervention measures are summarised as indicated by their attitudes and behaviour.

Table 6.1: Summary of driver reactions and their likely behavioural responses to the 'possible' intervention measures



Perceived benefits

Issues of concern/ perceived disadvantages

Additional enforcement and other measures required

Likely behavioural response

Appropriate contexts

Polite notice


  • None
  • Litter
  • Adhesive sticker
  • Fixed penalty fine
  • Vehicle registration recognition
  • Information about impacts of abuse on disabled people

Little impact

The measure alone was not regarded as an effective deterrent in any context.



  • Inconvenient to remove
  • Potentially cause embarrassment
  • Safety
  • Difficult to prove without photographic evidence
  • Fixed penalty fine
  • Vehicle registration recognition
  • Large stickers, without comprising safety

Little impact

Not considered effective unless used with a fixed penalty fine.

Patrolled car parks


  • Work wells at hospitals, multi-storey car parks
  • Enhances feeling of personal security
  • Can be flexible for justified abusers
  • Abusive/aggressive behaviour
  • Some patrollers might be more vigilant than others
  • Fixed penalty fines
  • Uniformed patrolling staff
  • Friendly, polite approach

High impact on justified abusers, persistent abusers will try to ignore staff

Any context

Bay design


  • Bright colours and contrast are good design
  • Drivers cannot claim accidental abuse
  • Health and safety
  • Increase awareness to potential abusers
  • Patrolled car park
  • Fixed penalty fine

Little impact, if not implemented with other measures

Appropriate in all contexts

Remote controlled mini-barrier system


  • Physically prevents abuse
  • Technical reliability, cost
  • Loss/theft/fraudulent use of handheld devices
  • Erratic parking around the barrier
  • Vulnerable to vandalism
  • Excludes people with reduced dexterity or upper limb impairments
  • Effective bay design
  • Blue Badge chip to activate barrier
  • Open barrier outside peak hours for others to use

Significant impact on all types of abusers

Hospitals or where abuse is a significant problem

Electronic barrier


Physically prevents abuse

  • Technical reliability
  • Segregation of disabled people
  • Excludes people with reduced dexterity or upper limb impairments
  • Fraudulent use of access devices
  • Practical application

Significant impact on all types of abusers

Hospitals, large supermarkets and retail parks.

Automatic electronic announcement


  • Effective in the short term
  • No damage to vehicle
  • Makes people aware
  • Effectiveness reduces as familiarity increases
  • Technical reliability
  • Potentially embarrassing for disabled people
  • Patrolled car park

Low impact on persistent abusers

Not an effective deterrent in any context, unless used with patrolled car parks.



Can check vehicle tax/insurance as well as abuse (including Blue Badge abuse)

  • Technical reliability
  • Infringement of civil rights
  • Complacency of CCTV
  • Clear signage
  • Written warnings
  • Fixed penalty fine

Little impact if users are unaware of the consequences

Appropriate in contexts where there are persistent abusers, esp. supermarkets, train stations.

Traffic wardens


Very effective

  • Impact of fixed penalty fine on low-income households
  • Wardens working on commission

Should be lenient towards people who have justifiable reasons to use a reserved bay

Extremely effective - likely to deter

Where abuse is a major problem.

Vehicle removal


Strong deterrent

  • Extortionate activities
  • Impact on low-income households
  • Unfair on first time and justified abusers
  • Legislation
  • Clear signage and written warnings
  • Raise awareness of abusers being penalised
  • Regulation
  • Likely to deter most abusers.
  • Persistent abusers are likely to ignore warning.

Could be appropriate in any context, but should target serial abusers

Wheel clamping


Strong deterrent

  • Extortionate activities
  • Impact on low-income households
  • Unfair on first time and justified abusers
  • Legislation
  • Clear signage and written warnings
  • Raise awareness of abusers being penalised
  • Regulation
  • Likely to deter most abusers.
  • Persistent abusers are likely to ignore warning.

Could be appropriate in any context, but should target serial abusers

Points on licence


Strong deterrent

  • Unfair on first time or justified abusers
  • Not effective if it involves a court case
  • Clear signage and written warnings
  • Raise awareness of abusers being penalised
  • Regulation
  • Likely to deter most abusers.
  • Persistent abusers are likely to ignore warning.

Serial abusers (if they are caught committing the offence after receiving warning and a fine)