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Monday, 14 July 2014

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Enhanced background checks to be carried out on Carlisle cabbies

Enhanced criminal records checks will be carried out before people are allowed to drive taxis in Carlisle.

David Morton photo
David Morton

City licensing chiefs had been concerned about not being able to thoroughly vet those wanting to become taxi and private hire drivers.

Carlisle City Council was among those who lobbied the Government after local authorities were last year told they could not carry out enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks on applicants.

But a climb-down on this ban has now been announced as part of a reform of licensing rules – a move welcomed in Carlisle.

David Morton, chairman of the city council’s regulatory panel, said: “The priority for councils is always to keep residents safe.

“We take this responsibility seriously and were very concerned about the Government decision to stop enhanced CRB checks.

“Anyone getting into a taxi or private hire vehicle should be able to do so safe in the knowledge that they can rely on their council to have fully checked the background of the driver before giving them a licence.”

Currently, the legal entitlement for many taxi or private hire drivers is a standard-level records check.

However, enhanced checks have become common.

Licensing authorities can now also check whether an applicant is banned from working with children or vulnerable adults.

Mr Morton added: “The overwhelming majority of licensed taxi and private hire drivers are reputable and honest individuals who provide a valuable service.

“Councils want to help support and promote this positive image of our taxi industry by ensuring the licensing process cannot be exploited by those looking to target vulnerable passengers.

“Many organisations, including ourselves, made representations to the Government about this issue because enhanced CRB checks are fundamental to a robust taxi licensing process that can protect passengers effectively. We are pleased that they have listened.”

Criminal Information Minister Lynne Featherstone said they were determined to ensure the records check is balanced to respect civil liberties and public protection.

“Taxi drivers provide a valuable service transporting children to school and lone women home so it is only right that the public should have the confidence that proper checks have been carried out,” she added.

Have your say

Abiut time too,But what i want to know is, If a driver has come from a EU country does his/her past show up on these enhanced checks. I'll also add that a great number of cab drivers seem to be unable or maybe just unwilling (ignorance) to string a few comprehensible words together.

Posted by Ian on 17 February 2012 at 21:15

Actually Delboy, this is a big change. The key here is 'enhanced' crb. A CRB only contains information on convictions and cautions, an enhanced crb contains information on arrests, and 'intelligence' that is stored locally and on the national police computer. That means unfounded allegations from thirty years ago, that you might not even know of will show up.

Posted by George on 27 January 2012 at 22:11

View all 3 comments on this article

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