Licensing authority says minimum private hire standards are needed to counter cross-border issues

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Members of Wakefield Council's Licensing Committee have said they will continue to lobby central government for minimum taxi and private hire licensing standards to be applied to all authorities equally.

Cross-border hiring is currently one of the largest licensing issues that the Council has, said a spokesperson for Wakefield Council.

The council said the policy they are going to introduce sets a high standard for those who are licensed by their authority, and aims to implement a fair but robust process.

However, a spokesperson for the council said if an application is refused by them, any other authority in the country may license a driver, based on the same information, but assessed against a less robust or differing criteria.

Once this driver is granted a licence, he/she will then be able to lawfully operate across Wakefield and potentially in other areas of the country, despite being refused a licence by this authority.

The Council said they believe that this poses a "significant risk to this policy, and undermines the licensing objectives that this authority has set".

The council said: "This national issue poses risks to the protection of the public, the safeguarding of children and the vulnerable, the prevention of crime and disorder, and the safety and health of the public."

The council said it recognises its responsibility and will use all opportunities to protect the public, "particularly children and the vulnerable", against this issue.

It also added that it will "continue to lobby government" to prioritise this issue and apply national minimum standards to licensed drivers.

The council concluded that it will continue to work in partnership with the locally licensed neighbouring trade, its authorities, West Yorkshire Police, and local people towards the promotion of the aims and objectives of its proposed policy.

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