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Enhanced checks for taxi and private drivers proposed

19th February 2019

Taxi

Taxi and private hire drivers may have to pass an enhanced criminal record check before they are granted a licence under a new government proposal.

The Department for Transport has put forward proposals which aim to improve the safety of passengers of taxis and minicabs under strict licensing guidelines. 

A consultation was launched in February 2019 on the “robust new rules for licensing authorities outlining how they should use their powers to protect vulnerable passengers from harm”.

The BBC reported: “Under the proposals, every council in England would be told to carry out checks on all applicants. Current guidelines allow councils to set their own driver standards, including whether to make the checks. The plans also include introducing national minimum standards and a database to stop applicants applying to councils after being refused elsewhere.”

Taxis Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children. These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab.”

The consultation will run up until April 22nd, 2019, and comes as part of the Government’s response to the Task and Finishing Group’s report on taxi and private hire vehicle licensing. The Government has also pledged to legislate on national minimum standards for drivers, establish a national licensing database and look at restricting drivers operating far away from where they are licensed.

The department will also consider whether vehicles should be fitted with CCTV as part of these minimum standards. These encrypted systems mean footage can only be accessed if there is a crime reported.

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