Carmarthen taxi firm owner guilty of driving cab unlicensed

Steve Dunn

A CARMARTHEN taxi firm owner has been found guilty of driving one of his cabs whilst being unlicensed.

Stephen Paul Dunn, of Steve’s Taxis in Carmarthen, was convicted in his absence at Carmarthen Magistrates Court and was fined £400.

Mr Dunn was licensed as a taxi driver by Carmarthenshire County Council until March 2013.

Carmarthen Magistrates Court heard that the council received a report claiming Mr Dunn had been seen driving a Hackney Carriage on May 24 2013.

As well as hand-delivering a letter to him, council officers verbally informed him that as he was no longer a licensed driver, he could not drive a Hackney Carriage vehicle at any time and if he did so, could face prosecution.

However, on June 12, Mr Dunn was seen by a council licensing officer at Lesneven Bridge, Carmarthen, driving a Hackney Carriage with a passenger in the vehicle.

He was prosecuted by the county council for an offence under Section 47 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.

The case came before magistrates in January 2014, but having failed to appear he was convicted in absence. However, Mr Dunn later successfully applied to the court to have his case re-heard, saying that he had not received a summons, and pleaded not guilty.

The case was re-heard on October 10 when he again failed to appear. He was convicted in his absence and fined £400. Magistrates also ordered him to pay prosecution costs of £858.67 and a victim surcharge of £40.

Read more: http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/

The Daily Mirror reports: Cabbie wars: Minicab driver in ‘first ever’ conviction for touting

Convicted: Sohail Masood was taken to court for taxi touting

The Daily Mirror reports that Sohail Masood put on a yellow high-vis jacket with ‘Book a Cab Here’ on the back and approached people at a train station, ahead of waiting black cab drivers

A minicab driver has been convicted of touting for passengers in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.

Sohail Masood, 34, put on a yellow high-vis jacket with ‘Book a Cab Here’ on the back and approached people at a train station, ahead of waiting black cab drivers.

A court heard he had already clashed with rival drivers outside the rail station in Milton Keynes, Bucks., on a previous occasion before he was arrested.

Masood, who owns Northants-based ‘Starline Cabs’, was found guilty of soliciting people for private vehicle hire.

It is believed to be the first time the Crown Prosecution Service has managed to secure a conviction for the charge, commonly known as ‘taxi touting.’

Dad-of-two Masood, from Milton Keynes, told the city’s magistrates: “The first time there was an incident between myself and taxi drivers there.

“The black cab drivers were not very happy about it. They were shouting and me and pushing me to try to stop me from what I was doing.

“I stayed calm and did not retaliate. I was just doing my job.”

He said on that occasion police attended and calmed the situation down and told him to move on to diffuse the situation.

Masood insisted that he did not approach anyone and only booked ‘taxis’ for customers to him who approached him – as the council had told him he could legally do.

But prosecutor Matthew Knight said: “You wore a high visibility jacket that said, book your cab here’.

“Which means that your actions were enticing people to come to you and book their ‘taxi’ with your company.”

Shiraz Rustom, defending, said Masood was a reputable businessman of good character.

He said: “Mr Masood faces losing his livelihood for something he made the effort to make several checks on about whether he would be breaking any laws. He believed his actions were within the law.”

Masood was given an absolute discharge, meaning he faces no punishment because the magistrates said he had tried to find out if he would be acting within the law.

He was ordered to pay £150 court costs.

source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/

Taxi fares expected to soar across Chester

TAXI fares are expected to soar across Chester, putting the city’s pub and restaurant trade under more pressure.

Hackney black cab drivers have asked for permission from Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) to boost prices by 12.5 per cent.

And private taxi companies are likely to follow suit, with one company boss saying the extra costs imposed on drivers by the council will have to be passed on to the customer.

CWAC has vowed to launch a public consultation to see if it should allow such a large fare hike.

Frank Marnell, chair of Chester Pub Watch and landlord at the Watergate Inn, said: “This is a real concern. Fare increases across the board will undoubtedly stop people going out to the pub as much. Many of my regular customers get a cab back to Blacon for about a fiver. If this goes through then I can see them cutting down their visits.”

Chester Licensed Hackney Association has also proposed increasing waiting time charges by 50 per cent, from £10 per hour to £15.

The council says it chose to launch a consultation after hearing that opinion was split on the scale of the proposed fare increase.

Paul Shepherd, director of Chester Radio Taxis – and also a member of the Association – said a lot of members felt it was too high.

He said: “I accept that they have not had a pay rise in the last four years and need a pay rise of some description but just not to this level. I just think it’s unfair for the local residents.”

But Richard Barker, chairman of the licensed Hackney Association stressed that a 12.5 per cent meant a £4.10 fare would only go up to £4.40 and £4.40 up to £5.30.

“It’s not extortionate,” he said. “We are far behind most of the rest of the UK on waiting time, we are just playing catch-up.”

Mr Barker said that his association had managed to speak to 112 hackney drivers – of which 88 favoured the rise.

Mark Williams, director of private hire firm Abbey Taxis, told the Leader private companies had no choice other than to boost fares, due to new rules imposed by CWAC which meant drivers had to complete an advanced driving course, and had to buy newer cars that were less than 42 months old.

He said drivers used to be able to start work within four to six weeks at a basic cost of around £400, but now it took between three and six months and £800.

“From a driver’s point of view they need to recoup that money and I’m afraid it will have to be passed on in fares,” he said. “I feel bad for the customers but this is down to the local authority.”

source: http://www.chesterfirst.co.uk/

Taxi and mini-cab firms at loggerheads over new bus-lanes proposal

Taxi and mini-cab firms at loggerheads over new bus-lanes proposal in Hanley

Mini-cab firms are to be given a one-year trial where they will be able to use some bus lanes in Hanley.

Private hire drivers say their inability to use the 23 bus lanes in Stoke-On-Trent denies them access to certain areas, and prevents them from taking the most direct route to destinations. Currently only Hackney carriages have permission.

Mr Parvez Khan, boss of ‘City Cabs 2000 Stoke’ said:

“At the moment, the main disadvantage is for the people of Stoke-On-Trent. We can’t drop them where they want to be dropped for example, we can’t go drop people right outside the health clinic.

“We have more than 1200 mini-cabs in this city compared to 200 licensed ‘Hackney carriages’ so you can see how unfair the system is and it needs to be dealt with.”

The chairman of the Hackney Carriages Association who would only give his first name of Mohammed, warned the council that by letting mini-cabs use the bus lanes, chaos would ensue.

He said: “With 1200 mini-cabs across Stoke-On-Trent, the bus-lanes will be absolutely blocked during rush-hour. It’s a bad idea and I totally reject it.”

Members of the city council’s renewal overview and scrutiny committee carried reviewed the notion and passed it. They have now forwarded it to the Highways agency, who will decide where and when it will be implemented.

Councillor Jack Brereton, who is on the scrutiny committee for the city council, believes that the local economy is being harmed by the inability of mini-cabs to drive in bus-lanes.

He said: “ It’s very evident that many local people depend on mini-cab companies to get them around. Mini-cab services are being stopped from going directly next to the Potteries centre and many other places which is clearly damaging the local economy.”

“There are no buses in the night, so why not let mini-cabs use them?”

Mr Khan, boss of City Cabs has accused the council of double standards and believes that this step should’ve been taken much sooner.

He said: “This situation doesn’t makes sense to me, mini-cabs are used 16 million times a year in this city, we should be able to use the bus lanes like Hackney carriages.”

source: http://staffslive.co.uk/

Commons Questions

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

What steps he is taking to improve passenger safety in taxis and private hire vehicles.

 

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

The Government’s principal role in relation to taxis and private hire vehicles is to ensure that the legislative framework and the guidance to licensing authorities are fit for purpose. Our best practice guidance for licensing authorities stresses the importance of adequate safety checks and enforcement to ensure that these services are safe.

 

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

But the Government are also planning to allow taxi operators to subcontract calls to other taxi operators without consent. What implications will that have for safety, especially for women?

 

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

All the taxis will have been licensed, albeit by a neighbouring authority. I cannot see the difference between getting into a minicab in York to go to Scarborough, so I am being driven around Scarborough in a York minicab, and a firm in Scarborough ordering a York cab for me because it is so busy owing to the success of our resort.

 

Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon, Conservative)

I urge the Government to look one more time at the provisions in the Deregulation Bill, which is currently before the Lords. In northern towns such as Skipton, taxis have been a key part of the problem of child sexual exploitation.

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

It is up to licensing authorities to carry out all the necessary checks. If people who are not the designated driver are driving vehicles, it is a matter for enforcement. The changes that the Government propose would make no difference to that.

Apr 23

National Taxi Association AGM & Conference 2014

The Annual General Meeting and Conference in 2014 will take place at the Brittannia Country House Hotel, Palatine Road, Didsbury, Manchester.

Conference Partners

The format will be as follows;

Monday 27th October 2014

09:00 to 12:30; NTA Directors Meeting

14:00 to 17:00; Annual General Meeting

19:30hrs; NTA Chairman’s Dinner

Tuesday 28th October 2014

10:00 to 15:30 Conference

 

 

 

 

Booking form: Nta-2014-Conf-booking-form

Oct 24

Carmarthen taxi firm owner guilty of driving cab unlicensed

Steve Dunn

A CARMARTHEN taxi firm owner has been found guilty of driving one of his cabs whilst being unlicensed.

Stephen Paul Dunn, of Steve’s Taxis in Carmarthen, was convicted in his absence at Carmarthen Magistrates Court and was fined £400.

Mr Dunn was licensed as a taxi driver by Carmarthenshire County Council until March 2013.

Carmarthen Magistrates Court heard that the council received a report claiming Mr Dunn had been seen driving a Hackney Carriage on May 24 2013.

As well as hand-delivering a letter to him, council officers verbally informed him that as he was no longer a licensed driver, he could not drive a Hackney Carriage vehicle at any time and if he did so, could face prosecution.

However, on June 12, Mr Dunn was seen by a council licensing officer at Lesneven Bridge, Carmarthen, driving a Hackney Carriage with a passenger in the vehicle.

He was prosecuted by the county council for an offence under Section 47 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.

The case came before magistrates in January 2014, but having failed to appear he was convicted in absence. However, Mr Dunn later successfully applied to the court to have his case re-heard, saying that he had not received a summons, and pleaded not guilty.

The case was re-heard on October 10 when he again failed to appear. He was convicted in his absence and fined £400. Magistrates also ordered him to pay prosecution costs of £858.67 and a victim surcharge of £40.

Read more: http://www.carmarthenjournal.co.uk/

Oct 24

The Daily Mirror reports: Cabbie wars: Minicab driver in ‘first ever’ conviction for touting

Convicted: Sohail Masood was taken to court for taxi touting

The Daily Mirror reports that Sohail Masood put on a yellow high-vis jacket with ‘Book a Cab Here’ on the back and approached people at a train station, ahead of waiting black cab drivers

A minicab driver has been convicted of touting for passengers in what is believed to be the first case of its kind.

Sohail Masood, 34, put on a yellow high-vis jacket with ‘Book a Cab Here’ on the back and approached people at a train station, ahead of waiting black cab drivers.

A court heard he had already clashed with rival drivers outside the rail station in Milton Keynes, Bucks., on a previous occasion before he was arrested.

Masood, who owns Northants-based ‘Starline Cabs’, was found guilty of soliciting people for private vehicle hire.

It is believed to be the first time the Crown Prosecution Service has managed to secure a conviction for the charge, commonly known as ‘taxi touting.’

Dad-of-two Masood, from Milton Keynes, told the city’s magistrates: “The first time there was an incident between myself and taxi drivers there.

“The black cab drivers were not very happy about it. They were shouting and me and pushing me to try to stop me from what I was doing.

“I stayed calm and did not retaliate. I was just doing my job.”

He said on that occasion police attended and calmed the situation down and told him to move on to diffuse the situation.

Masood insisted that he did not approach anyone and only booked ‘taxis’ for customers to him who approached him – as the council had told him he could legally do.

But prosecutor Matthew Knight said: “You wore a high visibility jacket that said, book your cab here’.

“Which means that your actions were enticing people to come to you and book their ‘taxi’ with your company.”

Shiraz Rustom, defending, said Masood was a reputable businessman of good character.

He said: “Mr Masood faces losing his livelihood for something he made the effort to make several checks on about whether he would be breaking any laws. He believed his actions were within the law.”

Masood was given an absolute discharge, meaning he faces no punishment because the magistrates said he had tried to find out if he would be acting within the law.

He was ordered to pay £150 court costs.

source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/

Oct 24

Taxi fares expected to soar across Chester

TAXI fares are expected to soar across Chester, putting the city’s pub and restaurant trade under more pressure.

Hackney black cab drivers have asked for permission from Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) to boost prices by 12.5 per cent.

And private taxi companies are likely to follow suit, with one company boss saying the extra costs imposed on drivers by the council will have to be passed on to the customer.

CWAC has vowed to launch a public consultation to see if it should allow such a large fare hike.

Frank Marnell, chair of Chester Pub Watch and landlord at the Watergate Inn, said: “This is a real concern. Fare increases across the board will undoubtedly stop people going out to the pub as much. Many of my regular customers get a cab back to Blacon for about a fiver. If this goes through then I can see them cutting down their visits.”

Chester Licensed Hackney Association has also proposed increasing waiting time charges by 50 per cent, from £10 per hour to £15.

The council says it chose to launch a consultation after hearing that opinion was split on the scale of the proposed fare increase.

Paul Shepherd, director of Chester Radio Taxis – and also a member of the Association – said a lot of members felt it was too high.

He said: “I accept that they have not had a pay rise in the last four years and need a pay rise of some description but just not to this level. I just think it’s unfair for the local residents.”

But Richard Barker, chairman of the licensed Hackney Association stressed that a 12.5 per cent meant a £4.10 fare would only go up to £4.40 and £4.40 up to £5.30.

“It’s not extortionate,” he said. “We are far behind most of the rest of the UK on waiting time, we are just playing catch-up.”

Mr Barker said that his association had managed to speak to 112 hackney drivers – of which 88 favoured the rise.

Mark Williams, director of private hire firm Abbey Taxis, told the Leader private companies had no choice other than to boost fares, due to new rules imposed by CWAC which meant drivers had to complete an advanced driving course, and had to buy newer cars that were less than 42 months old.

He said drivers used to be able to start work within four to six weeks at a basic cost of around £400, but now it took between three and six months and £800.

“From a driver’s point of view they need to recoup that money and I’m afraid it will have to be passed on in fares,” he said. “I feel bad for the customers but this is down to the local authority.”

source: http://www.chesterfirst.co.uk/

Oct 24

Taxi and mini-cab firms at loggerheads over new bus-lanes proposal

Taxi and mini-cab firms at loggerheads over new bus-lanes proposal in Hanley

Mini-cab firms are to be given a one-year trial where they will be able to use some bus lanes in Hanley.

Private hire drivers say their inability to use the 23 bus lanes in Stoke-On-Trent denies them access to certain areas, and prevents them from taking the most direct route to destinations. Currently only Hackney carriages have permission.

Mr Parvez Khan, boss of ‘City Cabs 2000 Stoke’ said:

“At the moment, the main disadvantage is for the people of Stoke-On-Trent. We can’t drop them where they want to be dropped for example, we can’t go drop people right outside the health clinic.

“We have more than 1200 mini-cabs in this city compared to 200 licensed ‘Hackney carriages’ so you can see how unfair the system is and it needs to be dealt with.”

The chairman of the Hackney Carriages Association who would only give his first name of Mohammed, warned the council that by letting mini-cabs use the bus lanes, chaos would ensue.

He said: “With 1200 mini-cabs across Stoke-On-Trent, the bus-lanes will be absolutely blocked during rush-hour. It’s a bad idea and I totally reject it.”

Members of the city council’s renewal overview and scrutiny committee carried reviewed the notion and passed it. They have now forwarded it to the Highways agency, who will decide where and when it will be implemented.

Councillor Jack Brereton, who is on the scrutiny committee for the city council, believes that the local economy is being harmed by the inability of mini-cabs to drive in bus-lanes.

He said: “ It’s very evident that many local people depend on mini-cab companies to get them around. Mini-cab services are being stopped from going directly next to the Potteries centre and many other places which is clearly damaging the local economy.”

“There are no buses in the night, so why not let mini-cabs use them?”

Mr Khan, boss of City Cabs has accused the council of double standards and believes that this step should’ve been taken much sooner.

He said: “This situation doesn’t makes sense to me, mini-cabs are used 16 million times a year in this city, we should be able to use the bus lanes like Hackney carriages.”

source: http://staffslive.co.uk/

Oct 24

Commons Questions

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

What steps he is taking to improve passenger safety in taxis and private hire vehicles.

 

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

The Government’s principal role in relation to taxis and private hire vehicles is to ensure that the legislative framework and the guidance to licensing authorities are fit for purpose. Our best practice guidance for licensing authorities stresses the importance of adequate safety checks and enforcement to ensure that these services are safe.

 

John Cryer (Leyton and Wanstead, Labour)

But the Government are also planning to allow taxi operators to subcontract calls to other taxi operators without consent. What implications will that have for safety, especially for women?

 

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

All the taxis will have been licensed, albeit by a neighbouring authority. I cannot see the difference between getting into a minicab in York to go to Scarborough, so I am being driven around Scarborough in a York minicab, and a firm in Scarborough ordering a York cab for me because it is so busy owing to the success of our resort.

 

Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon, Conservative)

I urge the Government to look one more time at the provisions in the Deregulation Bill, which is currently before the Lords. In northern towns such as Skipton, taxis have been a key part of the problem of child sexual exploitation.

 

Robert Goodwill (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport); Scarborough and Whitby, Conservative)

It is up to licensing authorities to carry out all the necessary checks. If people who are not the designated driver are driving vehicles, it is a matter for enforcement. The changes that the Government propose would make no difference to that.

Oct 24

Staff’s anger after minicab firm employs convicted paedophile

FORMER colleagues of a minicab office worker who downloaded 87,000 child abuse images are angry they were not told of his convictions.

Andrew Hillary was a teacher at a London private school when he was caught, and admitted, downloading the images of categories four and five – the most serious kind. He was jailed for 21 months in May 2013 but released on licence in March.

The 52-year-old, now of Southsea, got a job at Andicars in Leigh Park in May and worked there until October when colleagues discovered his secret by searching for his name online.

A member of staff, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I’m disgusted that I had to work in the same building as this man.’

She added: ‘He should never have been allowed to even gain employment or access to people’s personal information. Andicars failed their staff and customers and contractors by failing to do the correct checks.’

But Mr Hillary, who was described at his trial as an ‘inspirational’ teacher, said he had done nothing wrong in not disclosing his conviction.

He said: ‘I have to tell the police and my probation officer what jobs I’m applying for. If they don’t ask you to disclose convictions and the job does not involve children or vulnerable adults then I don’t have to disclose it.

‘I’ve had that confirmed by probation and the police.

‘There is obviously a risk that people will find out but there is nothing illegal in not telling them.’

Mr Hillary worked at Andicars for six months.

He left days after his conviction was discovered by colleagues when he says the situation became ‘untenable’.

He says he was not sacked and added: ‘Everyone thinks I have done some sort of molesting, which was never the case.

‘There was never any contact and never any hint of any. I was convicted on one thing but I’m being judged on something more.’

Andicars did not return calls from The News but said in a statement Mr Hillary no longer works for the company.

There is no suggestion that Mr Hillary did not obey the terms of his licence.

A Probation Service spokesman said: ‘Offenders on licence are subject to strict conditions and can be recalled to prison if they breach them.’

source: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/

Oct 24

Leeds minicab driver had £50,000 of cannabis in boot

POLICE discovered £50,000 worth of cannabis stashed in the boot of a minicab driver’s car when they stopped him on the way to a drug deal, a court heard.

Cabbie Mohammed Ashraf was stopped on the A1(M) in Leeds as he made his way to deliver almost 6kgs worth of the drug.

Ashraf and his accomplice Steven Manson, who was in the front passenger seat, were stopped on the motorway close to Micklefield after police received a tip-off.

After the men were jailed, police said the pair thought using a private hire vehicle would be the “perfect cover” for their illegal operation.

Leeds Crown Court heard there was a “stench” of cannabis when police approached the vehicle on October 29 last year.

The drugs were found in vacuum packs hidden in the boot.

The court heard the pair had been to collect the drug stash and were on their way to deliver it to another location when they were stopped in the

Ashraf, 34, of Hetton Road, Gipton, and Manson, 49, of Trafford Grove, Harehills, were both arrested and tried to blame each other when interviewed about the incident.

The court heard Ashraf had been offered £1,000 to transport the drugs. Manson was due to receive a smaller amount for his role.

Both men pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to supply. Manson also admitted possessing amphetamine after a he was found with a small quantity of the drug.

Father-of-four Ashraf was jailed for 20 months and banned from driving for two years. Manson was jailed for 20 months.

Both men will also face a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act, to be heard in March next year.

Jailing the pair, Recorder Michael Wheeler said: “You were both transporting drugs from one location to another.

“You both knew drugs were in the car. You were both motivated by financial gain.

“You knew what was going on and that the street value of those drugs was huge.”

Detective Inspector Jaz Khan, from Leeds District Quartz, a specialist team tackling gun and drug crime in Leeds, said: “These men were stopped with a very significant amount of cannabis that was clearly destined to be sold on the street of Leeds.

“They thought that using a private hire vehicle would be the perfect cover for their illegal activities but were stopped by officers before their illicit cargo could find its way into our communities.

“We are now pursuing Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings to make sure that any money generated by this drug dealing operation is forfeited and they are not allowed to benefit financially from crime.”

source: http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/

Oct 23

Leigh man who bit off taxi driver’s ear jailed for 13 years

Liverpool Crown Court

A DRUNKEN thug who savagely bit off part of a taxi driver’s ear just months after biting another man has been given a 13-year sentence.

Dane Hodkinson, of Westleigh Lane, Leigh, carried out a “persistent and vicious attack” on Christopher Harrison in the early hours of July 13 this year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that at about 5am Mr Harrison went to the McDonalds restaurant at the Linkway in St Helens to collect a fare.

CCTV footage played to the judge showed 26-year-old Hodkinson getting into the front passenger seat where he twice punched the driver after he asked if he had the fare, which he did not.

Both men then got out and punches were exchanged.

Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool spoke of how the victim has been left physically and emotionally scarred and has had to give up his livelihood.

He said Hodkinson’s ‘animal behaviour’ had caused his victim ‘excruciating pain’ and it must have been a most terrifying experience.

“He had to sell his cab and feels not surprisingly unable ever to return to work as a taxi driver,” he added.

“As well as depression and high blood pressure he now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

“You launched a frenzied attack with your fists and with your feet. You tried to bite his ear off, you bit his elbow and fingers, kicked and stamped on him as he lay on the ground.

“You took his keys off him and threw them at him and such was your contempt for him that you laughed.

Tom Watson, prosecuting, said that after being arrested by police, Hodkinson, who had drunk 20 pints followed by Jagerbombs at a wedding in St Helens, continued to be aggressive.

And stated that he smashed his head on the inside of the police van and tried to say they had assaulted him but the incident was caught on CCTV.

When he sobered up he said he remembered being in a ‘scuffle’.

The court heard that his previous convictions include threatening behaviour and affray.

In February he was convicted of possessing an offensive weapon involving using a piece of concrete in a fight with a man armed with a knife.

He bit that man but was not prosecuted for that and received a nine-month suspended prison sentence.

Robert Haygarth, defending, said that after being shown the CCTV footage Hodkinson said that he was ashamed and wished to apologise.

Hodkinson had pleaded guilty to wounding with intent.

source: http://www.leighjournal.co.uk/

Oct 23

Rotherham abuse scandal: Council plans new taxi rules

The Jay Report said taxi drivers had played a “prominent role” in child sexual exploitation in Rotherham

Plans to introduce tougher regulations for taxi drivers following the publication of a report into child abuse in Rotherham have been revealed.

The Jay Report said more than 1,400 children were abused in the town from 1997-2013. It said taxi drivers played a “prominent role” in the abuse.

Rotherham Borough Council said the report had had a “significant impact” on confidence in the town’s drivers.

Among the proposed changes are more rigorous checks on past criminality.

Dave Richmond, the council’s director of housing and neighbourhood services, said that while the council’s policy was “compliant with the law and our standards exceed those of some areas”, it was felt the authority “should do all that we can to make sure we have some of the highest standards nationally and a top quality service”.

There are 1,200 drivers registered in Rotherham, 80 operators and 800 vehicles.

A council spokesman said: “This policy represents probably biggest overhaul of licensing policies conducted by this authority at any point in the last 20 years.”

Dress code

Under the proposed new policy all drivers of black cabs and private hire taxis who are UK citizens must have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service report. Applicants who have lived overseas must satisfy the council of their previous good character.

The council will also apply tougher standards when considering past criminality, particularly concerning sexual activity, violence, children, vulnerable adults, dishonesty or drug dealing.

Drivers will also be required to complete a course to ensure they understand matters relating to adult and child safeguarding, pass a tougher communication and knowledge test and adhere to a dress code.

The proposed changes will be debated by the council’s licensing board on 27 October.

If agreed the policy will be put out to an eight-week public consultation.

The council said proposed changes to national legislation could take considerable time to come in to force and failing to strengthen current standards would not offer the necessary safety, comfort and reassurance to customers.

source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

Oct 22

“Please do not beat up the driver” – New York City approve warning signs to customers

Taxis will soon display signs warning of penalties of assaulting the driver.

Every taxi and livery car will have to display a sign warning passengers that beating up their driver carries hard time, under a bill passed by the City Council Wednesday.

The legislation requires yellow and green taxis and livery cars to install signs that read, “Assaulting a taxi or livery driver is punishable up to 25 years in prison.”

Taxi drivers say they work under constant threat of violence, and are 20 times more likely to be killed on the job than the average worker.

So far this year, there have been 40 assaults against drivers.

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Queens), the sponsor, said the sign would provide potential assailants “a sudden jolt of awareness that what they’re contemplating doing is very wrong and will results in very serious consequences.”

“Some percentage of people will think better of it and leave that driver alone,” he said.

The only exception to the requirement would be for so-called “black cars” that transport clients for corporate accounts.

source: http://www.nydailynews.com/

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