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Enhanced CRB checks for taxi and private hire drivers to stay

19/01/2012

From TfL press office

In May the Criminal Records Bureau contacted TfL and stated that we should no longer submit enhanced CRB checks for Taxi and Private Hire drivers.  They insisted that enhanced checks should only be made on people who work with vulnerable adults and children (as defined by legislation i.e. teachers, social workers, etc).
 
Since 2002 TfL have required applicants for a Taxi and Private Hire license to undergo enhanced CRB checks. TfL and the Mayor of London, along with the taxi trade and women’s safety campaigners, lobbied the Government hard to amend existing legislation to allow licensing authorities across the UK to have access to information disclosed in enhanced CRB checks.
 
Home Office Minster, Lynne Featherstone, has announced the continuation of enhanced checks for taxi drivers and private hire vehicles.
 
Please see below a statement from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in response to the announcement and also a copy of the ministerial statement from Lynne Featherstone.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: 
“The safety of the travelling public is paramount, so the watering down of taxi and private hire checks was, quite frankly, out of the question.  We have lobbied the Government hard to this effect, along with other interested parties such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, LondonTravelWatch, the Local Government Association and the taxi trade itself so I am very pleased they are now in agreement. Every applicant for a taxi or private hire driver licence in London is and will, with this announcement, continue to be subject to an enhanced CRB check, which is repeated every three years upon renewal.”
 
Criminal Records Certificates: Taxi Drivers
Lord Henley: My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information (Lynne Featherstone) has today made the following written ministerial statement:

The Government has received representations from a number of organisations concerning the appropriate level of criminal records checks for licensed taxi and public hire vehicle drivers. At present the legal entitlement for many drivers is for a standard level criminal records check, although the practice has grown up of applying for enhanced level checks across the sector. These checks include any relevant local police information, in addition to a record of previous criminal convictions, cautions and warnings.
 
Having carefully considered these representations, and consulted representatives of the sector, we have decided that:
 
•   All taxi and private hire drivers should be entitled to enhanced criminal records checks; and
•   Licensing authorities will additionally be entitled to check whether any applicant is barred from work with children or vulnerable adults under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
 
Taking account of the fact that many drivers are self-employed, criminal records applications may be made through the appropriate licensing authority. The decision on whether to grant a licence will remain a matter for the licensing authority. This change clarifies the law and regularises practice which has grown up over many years in the taxi sector. Changes will be made by secondary legislation as soon as practicable.

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