Taxi driver checks reveal convictions

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Council documents have revealed that 61 previously undisclosed criminal convictions or cautions relating to the city’s taxi and private hire drivers came to light within a year.

Following abuse scandals in Rotherham, Leeds City Council decided to review its taxi licensing regulations.

It resolved to make annual Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks across 14 months, and began processing these for more than 6,000 licence holders in November 2015.

The Licensing Committee also decided that checks should be conducted not only at the point of renewal of a licence or where a concern was raised, but also more randomly.

An update on checks was due to be presented during a Licensing Committee meeting on Tueday morning.

A report drafted for councillors in advance reads: “A range of unreported convictions and police cautions have come to light as progress has been made on the implementation of the annual DBS policy.

It later adds: “Of the 5,123 who have now returned their disclosures to the service, there have been 61 convictions or cautions revealed which had not been reported to the service.

“To date four decisions to revoke driver licences have been taken, with others cases receiving formal written warnings and/or training requirements, along with other decisions pending and awaiting further information.”

A spokesman for Leeds City Council said: “The safety of taxi and private hire passengers travelling in Leeds is always our primary concern. The contents of the report will be considered by licensing panel on Tuesday who will make the appropriate recommendations.”

The council notes that the amount of drivers of who have had licenses revoked is 0.08 per cent of all those checked.