By Thomas The Taxi

Taxi drivers are to be subject to enhanced background checks under new proposals announced yesterday.

Proposals will allow taxi licensing authorities to carry out enhanced criminal records checks on their drivers before they are issued with a licence. Current drivers will get additional checks when they renew their licence.

Under the current regime, only drivers who pick up children or vulnerable adults are automatically eligible for enhanced checks, although some firms do choose to get these extra checks for drivers as a matter of course.

Protecting the public

These proposals standardise the practice and simplify the system giving additional reassurance to women travelling alone and other vulnerable customers using taxi services.

The proposed changes are part of plans to simplify and reform the system of criminal records checks, while ensuring adequate protections are in place where they are needed most.

Licensing authorities will make the final decision on whether to grant a licence based on the information available to them. Criminal records checks play a vital role in recruitment practices, providing employers with the information they need to employ the right person for the role.

Respecting civil liberties

Criminal Information Minister Lynne Featherstone said: ‘We are determined to ensure the criminal records scheme is balanced to respect civil liberties and protect the public.

‘Taxi drivers provide a valuable service transporting children to school and lone women home after a night out so it is only right that the public should have confidence proper checks have been carried out.

‘These proposals will ensure that licensing authorities have all the information they need to make informed decisions before granting licences to drivers.’

Editorial Comment: This press release direct from the home office mentions Taxi Drivers, there is no mention of Private hire drivers. We have asked LTPH for a statement about this, but so far they have not replied.