A dramatic decrease in blue badge cards being stolen has been recorded after a council switched to a virtual parking permit system.

Police had received reports of cars being broken into with the badges being taken and then fraudulently used.

Haringey Council says police recorded 528 crimes relating to blue badges during the first six months of 2021 – this dropped to 185 for the same period in 2022.

The reduction comes after the council launched a free virtual resident blue badge holder permit because vulnerable residents shared concerns about being targeted by criminals.

Working with parking management IT provider Taranto, the council developed a system that allows residents to register online for the free permit, with civil enforcement officers able to check their permit status using just their vehicle number plate.

It means no blue badge or permit needs to be displayed inside the vehicle.

Reacting to the 65% drop in badges being stolen, Seema Chandwani, who is responsible for resident services at Haringey Council, said: “After listening to the issues our residents were sadly experiencing due to blue badge crime and fraud, we made it our priority to tackle these concerns as accessibly and effectively as possible.

“I am so pleased with the results we have already seen, and we are committed to continuing our efforts in improving accessibility for residents with disabilities and stopping this crime.

“This has been a fantastic example of how much positive impact working together with residents and service providers to identify solutions can make, and we look forward to continuing this approach in the future.”

The permit comes as part of the council’s disability parking action plan, which works to address the main concerns with disabled parking in Haringey, with dedicated disabled bays, the removal of the replacement fee of stolen blue badges, improved enforcement policies and the extension of disabled bays introduced as part of it.

The council has also taken an extra step in tackling blue badge fraud in Haringey by further developing the parking permit system with Taranto.

Blue badges can be checked throughout the daily enforcement operations, with 270 fines already handed out and 60 cars removed and blue badges seized.