In order to enhance protection for children and vulnerable adults, the APCC is calling on the Government to consult on and introduce new statutory guidance relating to how public authorities exercise their licensing functions on taxi and private vehicle hire legislation at the earliest possible opportunity. In addition, the APCC is recommending that the Government look again at introducing a national database to allow local authorities to undertake appropriate checks when applications are received.
APCC Chair Dame Vera Baird QC said:
“This is an area of considerable concern for Police and Crime Commissioners who recognise that there are a number of safeguarding issues that exist in the way in which private hire or hackney carriage drivers are currently assessed for a licence. The lack of consistency means that when local authorities make their assessments over whether the applicant is a “fit and proper person” different criteria is used when it comes to, for example, previous convictions. As a result, taxi driver applications can be refused a licence by one local authority only to be granted one by another.
“In order to protect children and vulnerable adults, the Government needs to consult on new statutory guidance relating to licensing functions under taxi and PHV legislation at the earliest possible opportunity.
“In addition, the Government should look again at proposals to introduce a national database, similar to the Disclosure and Barring Service, of all licence applicants, using a national framework and the reasons for any refusal to be included. This would help to ensure that local authorities have more of the information they need to help safeguard the public when processing applications.
“PCCs have urged action on this previously and the APCC will make further representations to Government.”