Changes to Licensing of Taxi and Private Hire Drivers Approved
The introduction of measures to help protect passengers' safety in the District, particularly children and vulnerable adults, was at the centre of Mole Valley District Council's decision to adopt a new Surrey-wide approach to the licensing of taxi and private hire (mini cab) drivers.Ahead of being adopted by Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), the new taxi and private hire licensing policy had previously been shaped by responses*, including those from Mole Valley residents and businesses, to a Surrey-wide public consultation held between October and December last year.
Whilst the majority of taxi and private hire drivers are conviction-free, under the newly adopted policy Surrey's District and Borough Councils will be taking a consistent approach across the County when it comes to training and handling relevant convictions. This will ensure that a driver who fails to get a licence in one area in Surrey will be unable to obtain one in any of the eleven Districts and Boroughs.
Other changes include the requirement that, from 11 April 2018, every new taxi and private hire driver will need to undertake mandatory Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Safeguarding training. In addition, drivers currently operating in Mole Valley will need to undertake the same training by 1 May 2019.
Councillor David Mir, Executive Member for Environment & Parking, said: "Thank you to everyone who took part in last year's consultation. This is so important and I am very encouraged that the new consistent approach across Surrey will help prevent the sexual exploitation of vulnerable children and adults. The policy changes and training will make drivers more aware of CSE, how to spot the signs when they have child passengers and will provide them with the knowledge so they can report it."
*64% of respondents to last year's consultation supported CSE training for existing drivers, with 69% of the opinion the training should be extended to new drivers too. 73% of respondents also agreed with the proposed changes to the relevant convictions and free-from-convictions timescales, helping to determine whether licences should be given to a driver. There was almost total support for individuals banned from working with children or vulnerable adults should not normally be granted a taxi or private hire licence.