Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council Licensing (LCC Licensing) are continuing checks on private hire drivers after a number have been found to be travelling between lockdown tiers to pick up fares.
Drivers from other licensing authorities, also known as "out-of-town" drivers, have been flocking to Liverpool City centre in an attempt to find fares as lockdown rules continue to squeeze a once booming trade.
Private hire drivers from areas such as Rochdale, Bolton, Wigan and Trafford are among those stopped by enforcement teams, who are not only checking if COVID legislation is being broken, but also checking for other licensing breaches and defective, dangerous vehicles.
On Friday night alone (18 December), eight private hire drivers were issued with enforcement action, either defect notices or suspension of licences.
Since then, Merseyside’s Roads Policing Unit has continued to work closely with LCC Licensing to ensure any breach of COVID laws or standard licensing regulations are being spotted, and appropriate action is being taken.
In the latest Tweet, posted by Merseyside Roads Policing Unit (@MerPolTraffic), a spokesperson said: "Taxis from Rochdale and Bolton amongst the latest issued with COVID and other penalty notices tonight as we continue to run our taxi enforcement operation with @lcc_licensing.
"We're looking at COVID and licensing breaches, plus any defective and dangerous vehicles."
Superintendent Chris Gibson said: “We’re carrying out this action for three important reasons. Firstly, to stand alongside our local taxi community, who have already had to adjust to difficult conditions and of course taken a massive financial impact of restrictions we have all lived under. The last thing they need, is taxis from outside the area competing for their reduced trade.
“Secondly, the risk that drivers and indeed anyone travelling to Merseyside from Tier 3 and other areas is plain to see, and I want to be absolutely clear that we will not tolerate it. Although real progress has been made by the people of Merseyside, the threat of Coronavirus has not gone away for anyone and we simply cannot let our guard down, or allow any behaviour or travel which heightens the risk of infection within our communities.
“Thirdly, and regardless of where drivers are travelling from, our Roads Policing Unit continues to work tirelessly to identify any defective or unlicensed vehicles, which can cause huge risks for companies, drivers and their customers. I’d encourage all taxi drivers and operators to regularly check your vehicles, as the vast majority do. Keeping our roads safe for all road users is vital, and we know too well the devastation that serious collisions can and do cause. We will keep on doing all in our power to reduce this impact.”