Safety measures around taxi licencing set up in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal are being circumvented by rogue drivers, a cross-party group of MPs has said.
Loopholes in national licencing laws are being exploited by private-hire cab drivers and their firms and are putting public safety at risk, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Taxis revealed.
More than 50 Rotherham taxi drivers were stripped of their licences last year after it emerged their cars were places of abuse or used to ferry girls around for sexual exploitation.
After the scandal emerged all taxi drivers in the town were required to install CCTV in their cabs and undertake DBS safety checks.
But in a new report the APPG on taxis said drivers were registering their licences in neighbouring authorities to circumvent the rules.
In Reading a ban on app-based taxi service Uber has ended up with its drivers applying for licences under the Slough and Windsor authority and continuing to work in the town.
And Southend drivers who had been banned for criminal convictions continued to drive under licences issued by Transport for London.
APPG chair and Labour MP Wes Streeting, who has written for PoliticsHome on the issue today, said: “Passenger safety is being put at risk because minicab drivers and operators are using loopholes in the law and a patchwork quilt of different safety standards across the country to flout rules introduced by local authorities to keep their residents safe.
“It is time for government to act to avoid a repeat of the Rotherham scandal.”
The APPG called for new national standards ensuring all taxi journeys begin or end in the local authority where the driver’s licence was issued.
It also demanded a national database of registered taxi and private hire drivers, new licencing standards across the UK and beefed up DBS checks.
Taxi Leaks Extra Comment:
TFL's Leon Daniels, bending over backwards to help with their 'special relationship' with Uber.