Violent criminals focus of licence policy review
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.ashford.gov.uk, until August 21.
Cllr Heyes raised concerns over those applying for a licence with criminal convictions