National register for banned taxi drivers welcomed by Wakefield cabbies union

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A national register for taxi drivers who've been barred from the trade has been backed by the union representing cabbies in Wakefield.

The government is introducing a UK-wide database to prevent rogue cabbies from getting a licence from a local authority, after being stripped of their right to trade elsewhere.

Wakefield Council, which has refused or revoked more than 300 taxi driver licences since 2003, says the register will make the system more "robust".

And the Wakefield District Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Association has also backed the move, and says it is long overdue.

Association chairman Wajid Ali said: "The register has been a piece of work that's been put together by local authorities, and it's been about two years in the making.

"It's a good thing because it eradicates the bad drivers, and it means everyone knows who is licensing who.

"It should have been done years ago, really."

Until now, the only way councils have known if a driver applying for a licence has been banned elsewhere is if the information is volunteered by the driver themselves.

Wakefield Council's licensing committee will meet to discuss the register next week, and how the local authority will comply with its requirements.

A report going before councillors said that 322 individual records dating back 16 years will be uploaded to the database once it opens.

The report added: "The use of the register will provide a more robust approach to considering applications for a taxi licence and will allow the council to ensure they access significant and relevant intelligence nationwide in determining such applications."

Local Democracy Reporting Service