Almost all (98 per cent) cases involved drivers using someone else’s blue badge,an analysis of official figures by the Press Association revealed.
But the total number of prosecutions was down 9 per cent on the previous year’s figure of 985.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity RAC Foundation, said: “The penalties for blue badge abuse are stiff – fines of up to £1,000 – but that is no deterrent if councils have no policies for prosecutions.
“This isn’t the biggest crime wave the country faces, but abuse of the system creates huge levels of ill feeling and risks bringing into disrepute the whole scheme, which is invaluable for those who really need it.”
A spokesman for the Local Government Association, representing local authorities in England and Wales, disputed the accuracy of the DfT figures, saying some councils listed as not having a policy for prosecuting abuse of the scheme do have reporting mechanisms for such incidents.
He said: “Councils take blue badge fraud seriously and are working hard to combat it.
“Gathering evidence and mounting a prosecution can be time-consuming and expensive, but councils know their areas and are best placed to decide the most effective way to tackle it.”
A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said responsibility for prosecuting blue badge misuse rests with local authorities and police do not engage in penalising offenders.