Public disabled toilets are being misused by drug users and rough sleepers who have been able to get hold of special keys that are intended to grant access to the toilets for genuinely disabled people.
That’s according to a councillor in Brighton and Hove City Council, who has criticised retailers Argos and Amazon – and a number of other companies – for selling Radar keys indiscriminately.
Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chairwoman of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, told a local newspaper that retailers selling keys without any checks are “irresponsible”.
According to Pissaridou, able-bodied people have bought the keys online and in some instances damaged disabled toilets.
She told The Argus that Argos and Amazon should stop selling Radar keys to anyone “without a proper check on the person’s disability”.
“The keys and disabled-only toilets are there for a reason – to allow disabled people the opportunity to use a toilet in private and with some dignity,” she said.
“It’s irresponsible of these companies, and allows non-disabled people to use a disabled toilet to the disadvantage of genuine Radar key holders who then can’t use the toilet when needed.”
Disabled people usually require a doctor’s letter to apply for and be granted a key from their local council. But many people now buy them freely online. Keys are widely available on sites like Boots and Age UK.
The council intends to write to Amazon and Argos to express its concerns.
A spokesperson for Argos told The Argus that the retailer conformed to guidelines, but did not comment further.