A freedom of information request has revealed that in 2018, over a third of taxi and/or private hire licences were issued to individuals with previous convictions by Scottish Borders Council.
According to Southern Reporter, who first published the figures, the local authority handed out 114 of 314 new and renewed taxi drivers’ licences to people with criminal records.
The results of the FOI also highlighted that so far in 2019 Scottish Borders Council has granted 47 of 138 licences to applicants who have previously had runnings with the law.
In 2018, Taxipoint reported on a previous FOI released by Scottish Borders Council for 2017 figures.
The information showed 155 out of 385 taxi and private hire licences issued were granted to applicants with previous convictions.
Some of those convictions included drink-driving, having no licence or insurance and criminal damage offences.
The report also revealed several drivers had convictions for violence, including assault, domestic abuse and assaulting a police officer.
Both reports reveal that a high number of drivers in these areas, who the general public put their trust in, have previous convictions.
A council spokesperson said: “As set out in the protocol and as required by the 1982 Civic Government (Scotland) Act, all applications are referred to Police Scotland.
“There are no set criteria, and each application is considered on its individual merits. This includes applications for renewal.
“Any taxi licence with a conviction has at some point been considered by the licensing committee.
“The bulk of those licences issued are renewals where there have been no new convictions. For example, a licence is granted by the committee after it has considered an applicant’s previous convictions.
“If the same applicant has no further convictions, there is no basis for the committee to consider their renewal application.
“For more serious offences, it is likely that the police would object to any application, which would then need to be considered by the licensing committee.
“The committee would look at the details of the circumstances of the offence and would take into account how long ago the conviction took place.
“Committee members will also consider other matters such as how they have addressed their offending behaviour, such as attending counselling, or whether the applicant has shown remorse.
“In all applications, it is open to the committee to grant a licence for a lesser period, while the police also have the ability to request a suspension or a withdrawal of a licence should the licence holder’s conduct cause them concern.”
Image: Source; Geograph
Image: Author; Walter Baxter