Private hire driver who was caught drink-driving has licence revoked by Cheltenham Borough Council

The private hire vehicle driver who was caught over the limit had done seven passenger journeys in the two hours before being pulled over

Cheltenham Borough Council has revoked the licence of a private hire driver with immediate effect after he tested positive for alcohol above the legal limit.

The driver, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was pulled over by police in June after they noticed two defective lights on the vehicle.

Smelling alcohol on his breath, they asked the driver to submit a sample of breath which showed that he was over the legal limit.

Two subsequent breath tests were also above the legal limit and the driver admitted that he had been drinking alcohol earlier in the day whilst watching a football match, but had not realised he was over the limit.

Police were unable to take further action against the driver as one of the breath tests at the custody suite was under the limit required for prosecution so instead they notified the council who referred the matter to the licensing committee on Friday July 29.

The committee decided that regardless of the police being unable to press charges, the driver had tested positive for alcohol above the legal limit and he admitted that he had been working when he was pulled over.

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His employer informed the council that the driver had done seven passenger journeys in the two hours before being pulled over.

Councillor Wendy Flynn, chair of the licensing committee, said: “The council’s principal concern is the safety of passengers and other road users.

“Drink-driving can never be tolerated under any circumstances and this driver deliberately drove passengers knowing he had been drinking earlier in the day.”

She said the fact that the driver was still over the legal limit more than two hours after he started work was particularly concerning.

“The police also confirmed that two of the lights on his vehicle were defective which in itself is a serious matter,” added Ms Flynn.

“In the circumstances, the committee unanimously felt that the appropriate course of action was to revoke the licence.

“In the interests of public safety the revocation of the licence will have immediate effect.”

The driver has 21 days to appeal to the magistrate’s court, but he cannot work in the interim because the committee revoked with immediate effect.

The driver can apply from scratch for a new licence at any time, which would involve going through all the usual checks and tests required of new drivers, and then he would be referred back to the committee. The committee would need to be satisfied that he is fit and proper to hold a licence.

Read more at http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/

Pervert taxi driver faces jail after trying to coerce two female passengers to urinate in his car

Pervert Robert Smith, 56, told the women during taxi journeys in April and June last year that he would waive their fare if they did.

A grandfather is facing jail after trying to coerce two females to do the toilet in the back of his black hack taxi.

Pervert Robert Smith, 56, told the women during taxi journeys in April and June last year that he would waive their fare if they did.

Both women reported the incidents to the police and picked Smith, from Baillieston, Glasgow, out of a number of images shown to them.

After a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Smith was convicted of repeatedly attempting to coerce one woman to urinate in the taxi, and another charge of coercing the second girl into removing her lower clothing and attempting to.

Smith – a father and grandfather – claimed the women did the toilet, he didn’t ask them to and was left with the mess.

The first women told the court that if she let him watch her that he would give her the taxi journey for free.

The second female, also claimed that while driving, Smith told her she wouldn’t need to pay if she did the toilet.

Sheriff Joan Kerr deferred the matter until next month, continued Smith’s bail and told him he was on the Sex Offenders’ register.

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

Crawley minicab firm can still operate in town despite former licencee’s conviction for 10 offences

One of Crawley’s best known minicab firms will continue to operate in the town after an agreement was made that a man convicted of criminal offences would hand the operator’s licence to somebody else.

Mawaz Khan held the private hire operator’s licence for United Cars on Grand Parade, just off the High Street, but on May 13 he was convicted of 10 offences relating to using private hire cars and drivers which were not licensed by Crawley Borough Council for bookings in Crawley.

This practice is sometimes referred to as ‘cross border hiring’ and he was ordered to pay more than £3,000 before the council then revoked his operator’s licence.

Khan was given 21 days to lodge an appeal, which he did, and the case was due to be heard at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on July 20. However he withdrew the appeal on the day of the hearing because an agreement was made with the council.

The operator’s licence has now been issued to somebody else, meaning United Cars can still operate in Crawley, but under strict conditions designed to prevent such practices occurring again. The council was also awarded costs in defending this matter.

United Cars has been able to continue operating since May, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Councillor Michael Pickett, chairman of the council’s licensing committee, said: “We take public safety very seriously and cross border hiring seriously affects our ability to regulate the taxi trade and is illegal.

“Crawley has an international airport and a large number of private hire and hackney carriages and great efforts are made to ensure those working in the taxi trade who are issued a licence by the council are safe and suitable to undertake this work.”

United Cars has been contacted so that we could speak to Mr Khan but we were told he is away on holiday until tomorrow.

Read more at http://www.crawleynews.co.uk/

Shock at would-be taxi drivers’ criminal pasts

Manslaughter, possessing an offensive weapon, arson and burglary are just some of the convictions held by prospective Wigan taxi drivers, according to a new shock report.

Government data reveals town hall checks on would-be drivers have flagged up almost 3,000 offences in the last three years.

The recorded convictions also include serious motoring offences such as driving without a licence or insurance, drunk driving and driving whilst disqualified.

The information does not include how many applications for licences were granted by the council although the Evening Post understands a vast majority would have been rejected.

However, a recent investigation by our sister paper the Wigan Observer found that on 19 occasions in the last three years applicants with criminal records did have their licence bids given the green light.

Town hall bosses have moved to further reassure residents that the safety of the public “is of paramount importance” in their decision process.

The government figures show Wigan Council has requested 1,544 background checks in the last three years, of those 488 had previous convictions or cautions.

From those 488 applications, a total of 2,939 offences were flagged meaning those applicants will have had multiple convictions.

Julie Middlehurst, group manager for regulatory services at Wigan Council, said: “We would like to reassure the public that each case is considered very carefully on its own merits and based around the circumstances of the offences along with representations made by the driver at the hearing of the committee. But at all times the safety of the public is of paramount importance in that decision.”

Earlier this year the Evening Post’s sister paper the Observer revealed on several occasions private hire licence holders who committed motoring offences were hit with temporary bans. On one occasion a driver who had accrued 12 points on his DVLA licence – the usual limit for disqualification, received just a six-week suspension from the town hall.

Rachel Bedgood, chief executive of Complete Background Screening, said the figures highlight the need for stringent checks to take place. “Without DBS checks, it is impossible to know the full background of people we employ in industries including those serving the public on a daily basis and, quite frankly, the reality could be quite dangerous if we do not continue to screen employees correctly.”

A spokesman for the National Private Hire Association had previously said a common sense approach is required by town halls when assessing licence applications and a clear distinction should be made between lower-tier motoring offences and more severe offences in the decision making process.

All taxi or private hire vehicle applications are submitted for consideration by the council’s regulation committee.

Ms Middlehurst added: “When the Regulation Committee considers convictions against a person who is applying for a taxi drivers’ licence they will also refer to adopted policy and guidelines based on the previous convictions which is available to view online here:

http://www.wigan.gov.uk/Docs/PDF/Busine … ctions.pdf

source: http://www.wigantoday.net/

Delta driver in court charged with raping passenger

A Delta private-hire driver appeared in court charged with the rape of a male passenger.

Khaldon Mohammed, 30, is alleged to have attacked the man in his taxi in Aigburth late last year.

The driver is alleged to have picked up the victim before attacking him near Sefton Park.

Mohammed, of Gwendoline Street in Toxteth, did not enter pleas to the charge at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court and spoke only to confirm his name and address.

The case was sent to Liverpool Crown Court where Mohammed will next appear for a trial preparation hearing on August 16.

Mohammed was released on bail with conditions not to contact the complainant.

Bootle based Delta is one of the biggest taxi companies in the North West and employs more than 2,200 private hire drivers, according to its website.

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

Penalty points scheme and code of conduct proposal for taxi drivers

Taxi drivers who commit minor offences could receive penalty points under a new proposal.

Crawley Borough Council wants to introduce a penalty points scheme and a code of good conduct to help secure compliance with licensing requirements as well as responsible and ethical behaviour from hackney carriage and private hire licence holders.

The scheme would give points to taxi drivers who commit minor offences or acts of non-compliance instead of taking more formal action.

The council wants to identify drivers who persistently commit minor offences or fail to comply with requirements placed upon them as licence holders.

A licence holder that reaches a certain number of points would then be referred to the council which would consider whether to suspend or revoke the licence.

The penalty points scheme is not intended to be used to deal with more serious offences or acts of non-compliance and in deciding what action to take, each case will continue to be considered on its own individual merits.

Councillor Mike Pickett, chair of the council’s Licensing Committee, said: “We want to find out what the public and taxi drivers think about these proposals before making a final decision.

“I’d urge everyone to give us their views so we can ensure that any final policy works for both taxi users and taxi drivers.”

A short survey along with the draft penalty points scheme and code of good conduct can be viewed and completed at www.crawley.gov.uk/consultation

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

Corrupt minicab driver lied in bid to save licence

A corrupt minicab driver lied in a bid to avoid two speeding tickets and save his private hire licence.

But 31-year-old Zahoor Rehman paid a far higher price after the plot was discovered.

The father of three had only held the licence for three months when first caught travelling over the limit along Sandwell Road, Handsworth on September 2, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

His Vauxhall Vectra was pictured by a speed camera doing 37mph in the 30mph zone.

When the notice of prosecution arrived he denied being behind the wheel, claiming to have sold the vehicle on July 31.

Rehman had done this but almost immediately bought back the car without notifying the authorities of the further change in ownership, revealed Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting.

Three months later, on December 2, the Vectra was pictured speeding once more on the same stretch of road and so he repeated the lie when the paperwork arrived.

But police inquiries revealed that Rehman was still working as a cabbie driving the vehicle he claimed to have sold.

He already had three penalty points when the first offence occurred and had been warned that a second speeding conviction could lead to his licence being suspended.

Rehman from Greenfield Road, Smethwick admitted two offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was given a four month sentence suspended for a year with 100 hours unpaid work and £400 costs. He was also fined £100 with three penalty points for the second speeding offence.

Read more at http://www.expressandstar.com/

Derby councillors could be stripped of power over taxi licences

Derby councillors could be stripped of powers over who gets taxi licences, following a damning report hitting out at how they have been operating.

Council officers would make the decision instead, using a points-based system that, among other things, ranks the seriousness of crimes by giving them a numerical value.

The proposal has been raised after auditors found councillors on the city’s Taxi Licensing Sub Committee had been, as recently as last year, awarding taxi licences to criminals who were not “fit and proper” to hold them.

Licences were given to people who had committed offences including “hate crime, harassment, intimidation and making improper comments to young women”. The proposed new points system has been drawn up in detail by the council and has forced the authority to go through the extraordinary process of ranking seriousness of crimes. If the proposals came to fruition, any applicant or existing driver who gets above 12 points would be in trouble. New applicants would not be able to get a licence and existing taxi drivers would have their licence revoked.

Several crimes would simply mean the licence being refused or revoked under any circumstances, including sex with an animal or corpse and sexual activity in a public lavatory.

Other crimes would mean instant refusal if committed recently but not if they had happened some time ago. Assault of a police officer for example, would mean instant refusal if it happened less than four years ago. But it would be worth six points if committed five years in the past.

And you could still be a taxi driver if you committed some crimes at any stage. They include being drunk and disorderly in public. If an applicant had done that within 12 months of the application, they would get three points, but it would be just one if it happened three years before and would not accrue any points over three years. Points would also be accrued through traffic offences, and non-criminal acts like carrying more passengers than licensed for.

A report drawn up by council officers ahead of Thursday’s licensing committee says: “The points system takes account of all possible driving and criminal convictions and/or conduct/behavioural transgressions. It will be made available on the council website for all current and prospective licence holders to consult.”

The auditors at Grant Thornton had said that the council had already been “proactive” in dealing with taxi licensing issues. Work has included getting officers to recommend to councillors what decision should be made on each licence applicant and expanding the size of the Taxi Licensing Sub Committee from three to five members in a bid to add “additional robustness to decision making”. This makes it more difficult for a driver to avoid certain councillors being on their panel.

But the auditors added that it may be necessary to consider the “radical option” of having officers deciding applications instead of councillors.

A twelve-week consultation on the proposals with taxi drivers and the public is set to start this month. If the changes go-ahead, the council is aiming to bring them in on November 28, following a final decision at full council on November 23.

EXAMPLES OF THE PROPOSED NEW POINTS SYSTEM

Possessing offensive weapon – committed within one to five years, licence refused; six years, eight points; seven years, seven points; eight years, six points; nine years, five points; ten years, two points.

Battery – committed within one to three years, licence refused; four years, five points; five years, four points; six years; three points; seven years, two points; eight years, one point; more, no points.

Administering poison – committee within one to seven years; licence refused; eight years, eight points; nine years, six points; 10 years, four points.

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

Littering private hire driver who was confronted in viral video handed fine

Eagle-eyed Bobby Michael confronted the driver after he threw a juice bottle out of his vehicle’s door on a Levenshulme street

A littering minicab driver who got a taste of his own medicine from an angry Levenshulme resident has now been handed a fine for the offence.

Eagle-eyed Bobby Michael confronted the driver after he threw a juice bottle out of his vehicle’s door.

In a brilliantly Mancunian manner, disgruntled resident Bobby, 46, hands the bottle back to the stunned driver, saying: “Excuse me brother, we live here mate. It would be nice if you wouldn’t do that, our kid.”

After the incident, which happened just by Bobby’s house on Mayford Drive, he posted the footage on Facebook, saying: “Saw this taxi driver throw his juice bottle out of the car. Not a care in the world. Drives me nuts.”

And now the careless cabbie has received an £80 fixed penalty notice, after the council’s enforcement officers acted on the footage and tracked him down, when he admitted the offence.

They acted after the video of the incident was widely shared on social media and featured on the M.E.N. website.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to take up the evidence Bobby provided and issue a fine to the culprit in this case.

“We know that the vast majority of Manchester residents agree with us that littering and fly-tipping are totally unacceptable. By working together with residents, we can make sure that the selfish minority don’t get away with blighting our neighbourhoods.

“When residents report incidents of littering and fly-tipping to us, we will investigate and do everything in our power to ensure that those responsible are punished.”

After being contacted about the footage at the time Amber Qadeer, who runs Amber cars, said that it was an isolated incident and their employees were always told to respect the community they work in.

She said: “We would just like to say at Amber Cars we do not at all condone this behaviour. We would like to sincerely apologise to Bobby and the rest of the Levenshulme residence. We have discussed this with the driver, and the driver would also like to apologise to everyone.

“As residents and a company of Levenshulme, we are proud to be a part of the community. Amber Cars as a whole again apologises sincerely to all of Levenshulme. Moving forward we will make it clear to all of our drivers and staff that this behaviour is unacceptable.”

To report a fly-tipping or littering incident in your neighbourhood, visit www.manchester.gov.uk/flytipping .

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

Cambridge taxi driver who grabbed woman and tried to kiss her has licence revoked

A taxi driver who grabbed a woman round the waist and tried to kiss her after giving her a lift home in Cambridge has had his licence revoked.

Akbor Ali, 47, of Chelwood Road, Cambridge, had denied sexual assault but was found guilty after a trial at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court on June 15.

He was sentenced yesterday to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and given a three month curfew between 10pm and 8am.

Ali was also ordered to pay £500 compensation to his victim, £670 court costs and an £80 victim surcharge. He must also sign the sex offenders’ register.

Paul Brown, prosecuting, said at 3.30am on February 4 the woman had been out socialising in Cambridge and at the end of the evening, she shared a taxi with a friend.

The taxi driver took the friend back to a hotel and the victim was then left alone in the taxi with the defendant.

He said: “There had been some general chit chat and when they arrived at her house she picked up her bags but struggled to get out of the taxi.

“The defendant opened the door for her; she said thanks and that it was nice to talk with him but she was simply being polite.”

The woman said she was standing about one metre away from him outside the taxi when suddenly the defendant stepped forward and grabbed her round the waist with both hands, the court was told.

Mr Brown added: “The woman said he pulled her forward so she was standing in his personal space and her face was almost touching his.

“She said it was uncomfortably close and at this point the defendant came even closer to her, opening his mouth as if trying to kiss her.”

The woman was so shocked she turned her head and body to get away, and the defendant got back in his taxi and drove off without saying a word.

The woman saw the cab was a Panther Taxi cab and called the company, who told her to call the city council or NHS on 111.

At 4am the woman called the police and Ali, who has no previous convictions or cautions, was arrested. In a victim impact statement the woman said she had OCD and the incident left her feeling ‘sick and dirty’.

Simon Rice, mitigating, said: “This was extraordinarily out of character for my client and he does appreciate the seriousness of the offence.

“He has been in the UK for 25 years without issue, and has been a taxi driver in Cambridge for seven years.

“The council has entirely revoked his licence and have no intention to reinstate it.

“As a result of this, he is now unemployed and his family are at risk of losing their home.”

Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/