A Blackpool dual taxi and private hire licence holder has had his badge revoked following actions that sparked concerns over public safety.
Blackpool Council's Sub-Committee was informed that the driver had been involved in an altercation with two female passengers following a routine journey.
During the incident, it was alleged by a witness who had made a statement to the Police that the unnamed driver had spat on one of the passengers and had punched the other passenger.
The witness, who was in attendance, confirmed his version of events which matched the statement he had given to the Police following the incident.
Members noted that the driver had been before the Sub-Committee previously in October 2016 in relation to an incident under similar circumstances.
The first time he appeared before the committee, he was alleged to have used threatening and abusive behaviour towards a member of the public whilst driving a licensed Hackney Carriage vehicle.
On that occasion he was issued with a Severe Warning Letter in relation to future conduct.
The driver was in attendance at his latest hearing and disputed the witness’ version of events.
He claimed that the two female occupants of the taxi at the time of the incident had been drinking and had verbally abused him with racial insults.
He admitted to spitting in the face of one of the women but denied punching the other.
He suggested that the women had refused to pay the full fare amount for their journey and there had been some confusion about the precise destination they wished to arrive at.
He also claimed that the Police caution he received was for spitting only and added that he had shown the Police CCTV footage from inside his taxi which he claimed exonerated him of any physical violence despite being hit by one of the female passengers himself.
However, the footage was not available for the Sub-Committee to view.
The Sub-Committee reasoned that is was likely that the driver had been racially abused by the passengers and whilst this was unacceptable and the situation he found himself in was very difficult and emotional, his response, namely an assault in the form of spitting in the face of one of his passengers, was disproportionate.
Committee members said his reactions fell far short of the standards and conduct expected of a licences driver.
Inconsistencies in the driver's version of events and a lack of evidence to support some of his claims were further compounded by the fact that he had failed to declare his Police caution to the Licensing Service.
The decision was made to revoke his Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Licence with immediate effect in the interest of public safety as he was no longer a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.
Image(flipped/cropped): Source; Flickr
Image: Author; Guian Bolisay