From yesterday, it was established that all taxi licensing authorities can conduct a criminal record check before private hire and taxi drivers can have their licenses issued. By allowing this, it is hoped that the system for criminal record checks will become simpler. In addition, women and vulnerable passengers can feel more reassurance from the taxi services they use.
With this screening in place it will be possible to see if someone is banned from working with children or vulnerable people by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. Lynne Featherstone, Criminal Information Minister said, “Taxi drivers provide a vital service so it is only right that the public are confident proper checks have been carried out. Good recruitment practices are a key responsibility for all employers. These changes will ensure that licensing authorities have access to relevant information to make informed decisions before granting taxi licenses”.
Until this announcement was made, it was only a requirement for drivers who picked up vulnerable people to be checked. This change brings universal standardisation, which eases a lot of people’s fears. As news stories would emerge of shady taxi drivers taking advantage of their customers, in sometimes violent and distressing circumstances, many groups have been campaigning for improved safety measures for customers. However, it is worth noting that taxi drivers can be equally at risk from reckless customers and other drivers on the road. Having good UK taxi insurance is a reliable way to protect themselves from these potential problems.
Linda Craig, Director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust that campaigns and educates in order to reduce the risk of violence and aggression, said “We encourage the public to use licensed minicabs and taxis and these changes will give licensing authorities the information necessary to ensure that the public who use them are as safe as possible”.