New Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards, which local authorities will be expected to implement, have been designed to improve consistency in the licensing system, reducing the risk of harm posed to children and vulnerable passengers.
Criminal record checks for drivers every 6 months form a key part of the standards, as does implementing safeguarding training to help drivers identify and respond to passengers that may be being abused or exploited.
Under the new measures all drivers applying for a licence should now be required to disclose if they hold or have previously held a licence in another area. Local authorities are now required to have robust reporting systems in place to make sure passengers feel comfortable reporting incidents and or suspicious behaviour.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We know the majority of drivers provide an important and safe service for communities, but in light of appalling incidents in places like Rochdale, Oxford, Newcastle and Rotherham, more must be done to protect passengers from those who abuse their position of trust.”
“That’s why we’re looking to licensing authorities to enforce these rigorous new standards, ensuring drivers are fit to transport passengers in a safe environment and to stop those who aren’t.”The measures were introduced following an extensive consultation with industry and regulators and follows the Casey Report which found there was inadequate investigation of some complaints in Rotherham.