Merseyside Police & Liverpool Council crack down on private hire drivers breaching COVID legislation
Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Merseyside Police Roads Policing Unit have been out in force, alongside Liverpool City Council Licensing, performing road side checks of private hire vehicles.
The enforcement teams were checking for "roadworthiness and breaches" of licensing and COVID legislation from drivers licensed with other licensing authorities.
One driver, licensed with Bolton council and known as an "out-of-town" driver, had his licence suspended with immediate effect.
A spokesperson for Merseyside Roads Policing Unit (@MerPolTraffic) said via their official Twitter account: "Working with Liverpool Council licensing officers, we have stopped private hire vehicles from out-of-area to check for roadworthiness & breaches of licensing & COVID legislation this evening.
"A private hire driver from Bolton had his licence suspended & our activities continue."
Although cross-border hiring for private hire drivers is not illegal, the introduction of different tiers in relation to the coronavirus has raised concerns about whether drivers licensed in tier 3 areas should be travelling into lower tier zones to pick up fares.
The decision to enforce checks on out-of-town drivers has been praised by some members of the public, with one saying: "It's a start, we know the police are stretched so for me this is recognition that out-of-town PH are a problem.
"Please keep this going, there's a lot of good local hard working drivers out there watching their work being robbed before their eyes."
Another wrote: "Spot on, that's absolutely what's need and not before time either."
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.”