Telford and Wrekin Council is looking to enhance its standards for private hire and taxi drivers, for the safety of the public.
The Council’s Licensing Committee, which meets on 29 October, will be asked to agree on a consultation on proposed changes to its policy on determining the suitability of a driver to hold a Hackney Carriage (taxi) or private hire licence.
The changes to be consulted upon include the addition of offences such as discrimination, for which a licence will not be granted for at least seven years after criminal conviction. Another new addition is the conviction of using a hand-held device while driving, for which a licence will not be granted for at least five years.
The proposed policy changes also include increases in the rehabilitation periods that follow the completion of any sentence imposed after a criminal conviction. The rehabilitation period is the time that must elapse before the Council would grant a licence to a driver. In some cases this period would double, from five years to ten years for violence or supply of drugs, or more than double, such as in the case of Hackney Carriage or Private Hire offences, from three years to seven years.
Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement said: “We know our standards for licensing taxi and private hire drivers are higher than those of other local authorities. We now want to further drive up those high standards.
“We want to consult on changes to our licensing policy which include adding offences such as violence, supplying drugs or using a handheld device at the wheel and increasing, in some cases doubling or more, the time that must pass for a convicted driver, before they can apply for a taxi or private hire licence from us.
“We know that drivers who have been refused a licence by Telford & Wrekin Council can apply to another council, then come back and work here. That is why we have been asking the Government to change the law so that only drivers who are licensed by us by meeting our higher standards us can operate in our borough.
“We are also in discussions with the taxi firm Go Carz on the installation of CCTV cameras in their private hire vehicles, something we hope other operators will also do.
“It is vital that we ensure the safety of the public we serve.”
Image: Source; PeakPX