All taxi licensing authorities can now request enhanced criminal record checks before issuing licences to taxi and private hire vehicle drivers.
The new move is meant to help licensing authorities find out if someone is barred by the Independent Safeguarding Authority from working with children or vulnerable people before issuing a licence.
The changes will help simplify the system of criminal record checks, and provide reassurance to women and other vulnerable customers who use taxis and mini-cabs.
“Taxi drivers provide a vital service so it is only right that the public are confident proper checks have been carried out,” Criminal Information Minister Lynne Featherstone said. “Good recruitment practices are a key responsibility for all employers. These changes will ensure that licensing authorities have access to relevant information to make informed decisions before granting taxi licences.”
Previously only drivers who regularly picked up vulnerable people, including children, were eligible for enhanced checks. The new change in rule will standardise this practice for all drivers.
The announcement was welcomed by groups campaigning for women’s safety.
“We encourage the public to use licensed minicabs and taxis and these changes will give licensing authorities the information necessary to ensure that the public who use them are as safe as possible,” Director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust Linda Craig said.