Letter calls for tougher action over taxi licences

Vera Baird

Vera Baird

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A call for action to give more protection to taxi passengers has been made to the government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird QC and South Tyneside Council leader, Iain Malcolm, has signed a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP.

South Tyneside Council Leader, Coun Iain Malcolm.

South Tyneside Council Leader, Coun Iain Malcolm.

She is demanding the government take action to safeguard taxi passengers by making the system of issuing licences more open.

The letter is supported by Chief Constable of Northumbria Police Steve Ashman.

Currently, it is possible for a private hire or hackney carriage driver to be refused a licence by one local authority only to be granted a licence by another.

Local authorities can issue a licence if they are satisfied an applicant is a “fit and proper” person - however, there is no definition or criteria to what a “fit and proper” person should be.

There is only one chance to get it right and in the interests of safeguarding, no-one with a sexual or indecency offence should be driving a taxi.

Vera Baird

Vera Baird QC, said: “There is only one chance to get it right and in the interests of safeguarding, no-one with a sexual or indecency offence should be driving a taxi. The government needs to get this sorted, quickly.”

Coun Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “This needs tightened up, the same rules should be applied in every area - then we will all have confidence in the rules being used to grant licences.”