The National Key Scheme is an excellent way of ensuring accessible toilets are available to disabled people when out and about. However, the integrity of the scheme is being compromised by the wide availability of fake RADAR Keys which are unreliable and can cause damage to the locks.
Since 1981 the NKS National Key Scheme has provided locks and keys to accessible toilets across the country. Before the introduction of the scheme, disabled toilets were either open for use at all times or were kept locked with individual keys. Larger than the average toilet cubicle and completely private once inside, the toilets were attractive for drug takers and 'romantic' liaisons. Leaving them open led to misuse and vandalism.
Privately maintained toilets with individual locks were also problematic. Keys had to be obtained from key holders who were not always available or took ages to find. Then there was the embarrassment of having to ask to go to the toilet in the first place.
The NKS gave disabled people dignity, control, and freedom to use the toilet independently and in private.
Overall the National Key Scheme is hugely successful, there are over 15,000 public disabled toilets included in the scheme around the country. Disabled toilets fitted with RADAR locks can be found in shopping centres, pubs, cafe’s, department stores, bus and train stations and many other locations in most parts of the country.
The locks and keys are stronger and more durable than a standard mechanism. Though not designed for maximum security, they are built for regular use over long periods of time. RADAR keys are also easier to use as they are larger than the average key. Newer keys also feature a blue, ergonomic plastic heart-shaped top. This makes it easier to grip and turn and also distinguishes it from cheap, inferior copies.
Unfortunately, the scheme is being undermined by the widespread availability and use of inferior quality, fake RADAR keys. These keys less reliable in that they don’t work on all RADAR locks and they can also damage the mechanism.
Recently, Disability Rights UK wrote an open letter to clarify their position regarding fake RADAR Keys. They make it clear that:
Any other brands claiming to make genuine RADAR Keys cannot be trusted.
To tell whether you are buying a genuine RADAR key or a fake, read this advice from Nicholls and Clarke's website:
If you wish to avoid fake RADAR keys and purchase a genuine, Nicholls & Clarke key, you can do so HERE
from our website. They are available with a variety of stylish fabric or leather key rings to suit all tastes. Matching Blue Badge Wallets are also available!