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BBC highlights continued taxi licensing “failures”

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BBC highlights continued taxi licensing “failures” 27th October 2018

The BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service has revealed that taxi licences are being issued behind closed doors to drivers convicted of offences including child sex crimes and reckless driving.

The report follows the finish and task group on taxi and private hire licensing’s report calling for licensing reform.

The report also highlighted a number of examples:

- A taxi driver in Sandwell was allowed to keep working, despite a criminal conviction for sexually assaulting a child. The case was heard in private

- A Cornwall driver was granted a licence behind closed doors even though he had been convicted of causing death by reckless driving in 1986 and common assault in 2011

- Birmingham City Council revoked a private hire licence in February, more than two years after the unnamed driver had been convicted of human trafficking offences in Belgium. Licensing staff found out through a criminal records check when his licence was up for renewal - but it had gone unnoticed when the licence was renewed in 2016

- In Scotland, burglars, arsonists, domestic abusers, thieves and reckless drivers were all successful in acquiring taxi and private hire licences from Borders Council

The report highlighted the fact that most council’s hear cases involving criminal history in closed session which makes transparency on the true extent of the issue harder to obtain.

In response to the article, the Department for Transport said it was considering the report and would be responding "in due course".

It added: "Taxis and private hire vehicles provide a vital community service helping people get to the shops, see their friends or go to work and school.

"But they need to ensure the safety of their passengers is paramount, especially when transporting the most vulnerable in society."

A Private Member's Bill that would have brought in some of those changes was "talked out" of the Commons earlier this year, but could be discussed again this week.

Daniel Zeichner, the MP behind that Bill, backed the new report and said he hoped it was a "catalyst for action that is so badly needed".

Source: BBC

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