Lawyers have voiced concerns at a north-east MSP’s proposals to crack down on drivers who abuse blue badges.
The Scottish Government has taken up the private members Bill put forward by Aberdeenshire West MSP Dennis Robertson.
The Law Society of Scotland said while it supports measures to tackle the fraudulent use of blue badges, it has concerns over two sections.
It believes the creation of a new criminal offence will just duplicate existing law, and the use of plain clothes enforcement officers could lead to confrontations.
The Scottish Parliament will consider the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill in a stage one debate today.
David Cabrelli, of the law society’s equalities law committee, said the Bill will make it an offence to drive or park a vehicle whilst displaying a blue badge that has been cancelled or should have been returned to the local authority but this is already covered by criminal law, effectively duplicating existing legislation.
The offence created is one of “strict liability”, which means that a person could find themselves being prosecuted for a genuine error or mistake in using a cancelled blue badge unintentionally, he said.
The second concern is the use of non-uniformed officers with powers including requiring someone to produce a badge for examination and retain badges in certain circumstances.
“Our concern here is that this may cause confrontational situations,” Mr Cabrelli said.
“Many blue badge holders may not be aware of the use of non-uniformed enforcement officers, and to be approached and requested to produce their blue badge for examination may cause confusion and anxiety for some.”
Mr Robertson said the introduction of an offence of using a cancelled badge would tighten up existing legislation.
“I believe that it is important that we take steps to get any cancelled badges returned and off our streets,” he said.
“This amendment will assist in getting cancelled and fraudulent badges out of circulation.”