Vi­o­lent crim­i­nals fo­cus of li­cence pol­icy re­view

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News -

Coun­cil­lors say vi­o­lent crim­i­nals should not be able to hold taxi li­cences.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil has launched a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion out­lin­ing the pro­posed change to its taxi li­cens­ing poli­cies.

The fu­ture pol­icy will cover is­sues such as ve­hi­cle spec­i­fi­ca­tions, driver con­duct, ap­pli­ca­tions to be­come driv­ers, and guide­lines af­fect­ing dis­abled pas­sen­gers.

But it will also hone in on those who have prior crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, stat­ing that while some se­ri­ous con­vic­tions nor­mally re­strict a li­cence be­ing is­sued within a spe­cific time pe­riod, the new pol­icy would stop them hold­ing a li­cence at all.

At the coun­cil cab­i­net meet­ing last week, Cllr Bernard Heyes raised con­cerns that those with con­vic­tions for of­fences car­ry­ing less than five-year pri­son sen­tences, such as racially ag­gra­vated as­saults and ac­tual body harm, could still ap­ply.

He said: “I think the pub­lic will feel that no one who has com­mit­ted an of­fence of that na­ture should be granted a li­cence to drive the pub­lic around.”

In re­sponse, port­fo­lio holder Cllr Brad Brad­ford said the coun­cil can­not “dic­tate” who ap­plies for a li­cence and that each case would be judged on its own mer­its.

He added: “Only in ex­cep- tional cir­cum­stances would some­one with a crim­i­nal record be granted a li­cence. We have to be seen to be­have fairly.”

The pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion will start at the be­gin­ning of Au­gust and will run un­til on the coun­cil web­site, www.ash­, un­til Au­gust 21.

Cllr Heyes raised con­cerns over those ap­ply­ing for a li­cence with crim­i­nal con­vic­tions

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