Undercover investigators on salaries of nearly £33,000 are being recruited to spy on motorists suspected of abusing disabled parking badges.Hmmm, now, wasn’t there a government statement about that recently? Why, yes there was!:
Using powers originally intended to combat terrorism and serious crime, they will undertake covert missions, making use of video and digital cameras ‘or other appropriate methods of surveillance’ to gather evidence for prosecutions.
Two weeks ago Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said town halls should not use the controversial Regulation Of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to snoop on people suspected of minor civil offences such as dog fouling or putting bins out on the wrong day.It seems that even local council chiefs don’t respect their lords and masters anymore.
And by ‘lords and masters’, of course I don’t mean us taxpayers...
Local authorities say abuse of the blue badge scheme is on the increase and the Department For Transport estimates that one in 200 of the 2.3million permits – which give holders the right to park free of charge on single and double yellow lines and exempt the holder from the £8-a-day London congestion charge – are being used by people not entitled to have them.It is indeed a disgrace to see people abusing this necessary privilege – but adding to the burden on the public payroll by recruiting yet more civil servants isn’t the best way to go about stopping it.
Many car break-ins are linked to the theft of the sought-after blue badges, which can sell for up to £1,500 on the black market.