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North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC) has become one of the first local authorities in the county to sign up to a new licensing register designed to improve public safety and confidence in taxis.
The National Register of Taxi and Private Hire Licence Revocations and Refusals – or NR3 for short - is designed to prevent drivers from submitting licence applications while failing to declare historical licence revocations in other parts of the country.
Earlier this year a taxi driver from Burton-upon-Trent was caught failing to disclose that he previously had his licence revoked twice in East Staffordshire, on new applications to both NWLDC and South Derbyshire District Council.
In this case an eagle-eyed licensing officer in North West Leicestershire that had previously worked for East Staffordshire Borough Council spotted the fraudulent paperwork.
The driver was found guilty of fraud by false representation at Leicester Magistrates' Court and handed a 12-month community order, with a requirement for 100 hours of unpaid work.
The new register will make the process of checking a driver’s history much easier and prevent anyone from successfully making false claims on their application for a licence.
NWLDC will also update the register any time it revokes or refuses a licence. The punishment of revoking a licence is only used in serious cases of incompetence, often when passengers are put in danger. This information will then be available for all other authorities signed up to the scheme.
Councillor Andrew Woodman, Portfolio Holder for Community Services at NWLDC said: “This is a sensible way of sharing information between licensing authorities to ensure passengers are being kept safe and that they can have confidence that their driver is both professional and competent.
“For law-abiding taxi drivers absolutely nothing changes – declaring your licence history has always been a requirement. It’s only those that fraudulently submit inaccurate applications that need to worry.
“Safety will always be our priority as a licensing authority. The register also protects the integrity of all the excellent taxi drivers we have in the district who we believe will be rewarded by the confidence boost this will give to customers.”