Cab­bies ‘must speak English’ af­ter shake-up Rules to stem tide of taxi driv­ers flood­ing into city from other ar­eas

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

ALL taxi and pri­vate hire driv­ers in Birm­ing­ham should be able to speak and write in English, new rules pro­pose.

Their ve­hi­cles should also have CCTV fit­ted and reg­u­lar crim­i­nal record checks should be made.

These were among a num­ber of ideas which will also tackle the city’s prob­lem of be­ing “flooded” by driv­ers li­censed from other ar­eas, over whom the coun­cil has no ju­ris­dic­tion.

A list of more than 30 rec­om­men­da­tions has been pub­lished by a gov- ern­ment group set up by the Depart­ment for Trans­port last year.

It has called for an ur­gent re­view into the rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion, some of which is more than 100 years old and was writ­ten be­fore the car was in­vented.

Even the newer laws were en­shrined be­fore the ar­rival of the in­ter­net and mo­bile phones, both of which have re-shaped the taxi in­dus­try in re­cent years via the likes of hail­ing apps such as Uber.

Some of the key rec­om­men­da­tions are:

All li­censed ve­hi­cles must be fit­ted with CCTV with au­dio and vis­ual ca­pa­bil­ity; All driv­ers must be able to speak and write in English; Driv­ers must be sub­jected to Dis­clo­sure and Bar­ring Ser­vice (DBS) checks ev­ery six months;

Taxis and pri­vate hire ve­hi­cles can only op­er­ate in the area they are li­censed. How­ever, they are free to ob­tain mul­ti­ple li­cences;

Coun­cil of­fi­cers should have pow­ers to carry out checks on any driver re­gard­less of where they have been li­censed and pur­sue en­force­ment ac­tion for any breaches.

Fur­ther sug­ges­tions in­clude es­tab­lish­ing a na­tional data­base of driv­ers, al­low­ing coun­cils to cap the num­ber of li­cences they hand out, manda­tory child sex­ual ex­ploita­tion train­ing for ev­ery driver and an up­dated list of con­vic­tions which can serve as grounds for re­fus­ing or re­vok­ing a li­cence.

Li­cens­ing for Hack­ney Car­riages

The sit­u­a­tion at the mo­ment is detri­men­tal to pub­lic safety as well as to the trade it­self

out­side of Lon­don is stip­u­lated by the Town Po­lice Clauses Act 1847, and pri­vate hire rules by the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment (Mis­cel­la­neous Pro­vi­sions) Act 1976.

The Law Com­mis­sion re­viewed the leg­is­la­tion in 2011 but their sub­se­quent pro­pos­als were not adopted. The task and fin­ish group de­scribed this as “re­gret­table”.

Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil’s act­ing head of li­cens­ing Emma Ro­homon said: “The sit­u­a­tion at the mo­ment is detri­men­tal to pub­lic safety as well as to the trade it­self, with many loop­holes be­ing widely ex­ploited, leav­ing li­cens­ing au­thor­i­ties pow­er­less to re­spond.”

Act­ing head of li­cens­ing Emma Ro­homon

> All taxi driv­ers should have CCTV fit­ted and reg­u­lar crim­i­nal record checks should be made

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