Tougher Criminal Checks for Taxi and Private Hire Drivers

If you are involved in the worlds of taxi or private hire, you will be well aware of recent reports of criminal activity; occurrences that have placed taxi drivers and private hire drivers as the catalysts.

Mostly involving cases of rape and sexual assault, many calls have been made to conduct further checks on the people occupying the wheels of rental cars.

This is something that the Department for Transport is currently looking into, this month proposing new licensing processes that could change the application process for the better.

According to proposals, every council in England will have to adhere to the rules if passed, needing to carry out additional checks on all applicants that apply for a licence.

At present, each council has autonomy over the checks they conduct into applicants, working with guidelines as opposed to hard laws. This change will see that alter, will criminal checks needing to be conducted on every driver that applies for a licence, no matter what.

In addition, authorities want to introduce a new database, one that will track applications and ensure a driver that applies and is rejected to work in one council cannot simply apply for a licence in another.

Taxis minister, Nusrat Ghani, said the following on the subject:

“While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children.

“These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab.”

What are you thoughts on this? If rolled out, will these changes have the desired impact of reducing or even eliminating crime in the taxi and private hire industry?

Share your opinions with us.