Individuals who have had their taxi license revoked by the local authority for unacceptable behaviour including sexual assault have been using a loophole that enables them to get a license through DVLA to drive a Public Service Vehicle and end up driving mini buses for taxi companies, but driving a larger vehicle.
There have been a number of cases in Teesside where individuals who have been convicted of offences and subsequently had their licenses revoked by the local authority, have then gone on to get a PSV license and continue to be a taxi driver often in the same area with the same company. Offences in Tees Valley include sexual assault against young females, drug dealing, and inappropriate conduct towards children.
The Local Government Association have called for the Government to address this and bring PCV’s into line with other local tax licensing requirements.
Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham, raised the issue in the Commons earlier today and later said:
“I was first made aware of this loophole by Stockton Borough Council, and it is absurd to me how a local authority can revoke the license of someone who can then just go down to the DVLA and get an alternative license that enables them to continue working despite posing a huge threat to vulnerable people.
I have also written to the Minister responsible, questioning what the Government are going to do to address and close this loophole.”
The Local Government Association, whose member councils are responsible for licencing taxi drivers, have expressed their concerns over the threat to public harm by allowing potentially dangerous people to effectively act as a taxi driver but in a different vehicle. Under current laws, drivers of PCVs are licensed by the DVLA but are not subject to a criminal record check.
Responding for the Government, Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP said:
“This issue is critically important and has united the House of Commons before“, and has extended the offer of a meeting with Alex about this issue in the near future.