Safeguarding training to ensure Waveney cab drivers are ‘fit and proper’

Waveney District Council's licensing committee agreed to the training Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Waveney District Council's licensing committee agreed to the training Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Mandatory training to make sure taxi drivers are “fit and proper” has been agreed in Waveney.

Waveney District Council’s licensing committee met last week, where plans to introduce safeguarding training were approved.

It requires all new taxi, hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers to complete online training to raise awareness of adults at risk of abuse, vulnerable people and child sexual exploitation.

The report said: “When considering applications for hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers licences, the council must be satisfied that the applicant is a ‘fit and proper’ person to be granted a licence.”

It said that public safety must be the “first and most important priority” and said that the council, taxi firms and individual drivers had a responsibility to “ensure that licensed drivers are aware of the warning signs that could indicate when a passenger is at risk of trafficking or child sexual exploitation, and that training is available or has been undertaken to assist those in the taxi trade to deal with such scenarios and report them to the relevant authorities.”

A Waveney District Council spokeswoman said: “We will be introducing new mandatory safeguarding training for all existing licensed drivers, existing private hire operators and new applicants for either category of licence to ensure that the applicant is considered to be ‘safe and suitable’ and that public safety is protected.”

For those already with licenses, a year will be given to complete the training without fee, after which they will have to pay.

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Those who refuse to complete the training will not be able to get a licence.

It is understood that the intention is for it to go to Suffolk Coastal District Council’s committee in July for approval, with a training provider then set to be sought once both councils have agreed to run the programme.

The training has been welcomed by Atlas Cars in Lowestoft, which already has its drivers trained in NVQs.

Jeremy Stitson from the firm said: “To be honest I think it’s a really good thing – you get people in very vulnerable situations and some people don’t quite understand those situations.

“If the thing is done properly it will be really useful.”

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