Online safeguarding sessions prove popular with Mendip's taxi drivers

Mendip District Council's Licensing Team is delivering virtual safeguarding sessions to all its licensed taxi and private hire drivers.

More than 40 drivers attended the first two specialised courses, with more booked on throughout September and October. The sessions are taking place virtually due to the COVID crisis, they are free and meet the new Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards.

Safeguarding training was made mandatory for Mendip drivers in June this year at a Licensing Board meeting. Current drivers must take the virtual course within 12 months, and all new applicants need to complete the training before they are issued a licence.

The course content covers the following topics; awareness of the different forms of exploitation including, child sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery, recognising signs of exploitation and abuse, understanding what safeguarding is, and knowing who to contact if a driver suspects a safeguarding issue.

Cllr Sam Phripp, Chair of Mendip's Licensing Board, said: "Taxi drivers can play an important role in the safeguarding process. They are out there, day and night, very much part of the community. They are in a privileged position and sometimes they are witness to issues relating to vulnerable children and adults.

"We want our drivers to be alert to any potential issues, and to know what to do if and when they have concerns."

Cllr Phripp added: "The take-up rate to our first two virtual training sessions has been excellent, as was the feedback from drivers, who were engaged throughout. We are so grateful to them for their enthusiasm and commitment."

The next safeguarding session is due to take place on 8 September. Online training will continue to roll-out until October. Those drivers who are unable to complete the course online, are being offered socially distanced training delivered in groups in person.

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