East Riding taxi drivers to face stricter criminal record checks
STRICTER criminal record checks are to be introduced for people applying for new taxi and hackney carriage licences in the East Riding.
Councillors say the move is aimed at improving passenger safety.
It will bring the East Riding into line with existing policies in Hull and reflect recent changes in national licensing legislation.
The move is expected to be endorsed at the next full council meeting after being backed by the authority's cabinet.
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It follows a two-month consultation with drivers and operators over a series of proposed changes to the council's current licensing policy.
It means all new applicants, as well as licensed drivers seeking licence renewals, will be subject to enhanced Criminal Record Bureau checks.
The checks identify information held by the police on people in addition to details on previous convictions.
Councillor Richard Harrap, portfolio holder for adult and carer services, said: "Although we can never eliminate 100 per cent some of the unfortunate incidents we sometimes hear about involving taxi drivers and their passengers, this is one way of making sure we do our best to prevent them.
"It is vital that we do as much as we can to make people safe.
"A lot of old and vulnerable people rely on taxis to get around and this will help them."
A number of other changes in the East Riding's policies covering taxi and hackney carriage drivers were also backed by cabinet councillors this week.
Under the changes, annual licences are to be re-introduced.
Council officials say this will ensure that any offences committed by drivers will be picked up more quickly in the licensing process.
In addition, a new maximum age for vehicles first being licensed is to be set at no more than six years-old.
The current ten-year age limit for vehicles being used as taxis and black cabs is being increased by a year.
The new-look policy will also require annual vehicle testing until the car is more than four years old.
Beyond that point, testing will switch to every six months.
A report submitted to the cabinet meeting said: "Changes have been built in to the policy to reflect the views of the 54 licensed drivers and operators who attended two briefing sessions held during the consultation period."