25
February
2014
|
00:00
Europe/London

Public views sought on taxi criminal convictions criteria


People across Leeds are being asked for their views on the criteria Leeds City Council uses to decide if taxi licences should be granted.



Before the council can grant licenses for private hire driver, private hire operator, Hackney carriage driver or Hackney carriage proprietor, it must ensure the applicant is a 'fit and proper' person. One aspect the council must look at is the criminal history of the applicant and the potential risk posed to the public if a license was granted.



Although the council has an existing policy in place to assess if a person is ‘fit and proper’, it is now outdated and needs to be reviewed. The council is currently in the process of drawing up a new policy to make sure it is up to date and relevant to today’s society. Gathering people’s view is vital to help the council put together a policy which addresses the potential risk to the public whilst being fair and transparent to applicants.



The consultation, which is available online at Leeds City Council’s website has already had a good response with 828 people submitting their views.



Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, chair of the licensing committee said:

“The safety of the public travelling around our city is paramount and it is our responsibility to minimise any risk posed to members of the public using a taxi or private hire vehicle.



“It is important that we have a robust policy in place which is up to date and takes into account changes in criminal behaviour. Our policy must also prevent opportunities for criminal behaviour by having access to a taxi or private hire licence.



“In Leeds we have a very diverse community so it is important that we listen to the views of people from all sections of society to help us make sure our policy is relevant and robust and meets the needs residents and visitors alike.”



Since the council’s current convictions criteria were adopted there has been a significant reshaping of the criminal law to combat the structures of organised crime and deal more effectively with a range of issues.



The proposals to adjust the conviction criteria are based on:

• The public expectation of safety and control of risk for the most serious types of crime.

• Demonstrating a commitment to dealing with race/ religious hate crime, gender / sexual orientation offending and disability offending

• Recognising the opportunities for criminals, by obtaining a license

• The council’s obligations to safeguarding vulnerable children and adults

• Recognising new types of criminal networks are in operation.



Further information can be found at: www.leeds.gov.uk/taxiconsultation



ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk