Taxi drivers lose licence after criminal convictions

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A total of 21 taxi drivers in Wakefield have had their licence removed during the past four years after being convicted of criminal offences.

Details from a Freedom of Information request revealed that distributing indecent images of children, intending to supply Class A drugs and wounding with intent were among the reasons drivers were stripped of their licences  between 2014 and 2017.

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Drivers operating with a licence from Wakefield Council must inform them if they receive a conviction, caution, warning or reprimand. The local authority then decides whether or not to remove their licence.

Thirteen of the drivers lost their job over motoring offences, including seven who had been disqualified from driving.

Others were prosecuted for having no insurance and having too many points on their licence, while three were convicted of plying for hire. This relates to private hire vehicles picking up passengers from a rank or on a roadside after they are hailed, which they are not allowed to do.    

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The Wakefield Private Hire and Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, which speaks for most local cabbies, said the figures represented a very small proportion of drivers.

Co-chairman of the group, Wajid Ali, said: “Whilst we represent the majority of the licensees, not all licensees are part of the the trade association. 21 drivers in three years is only 1.4 per cent (of the workforce).

“If these individuals had their licence removed due to public safety, then rightly so. Criminals should not hold licences.”

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Councils in West Yorkshire are currently trying to agree on one set of regulations for taxi drivers which would cover the whole region, as they try to improve safeguarding.

Although the chair of Wakefield’s licensing commitee, Coun Martyn Johnson said at a meeting last month that he wants to work with cabbies, relations between drivers and the local council remain strained.

Drivers threatened to stage a ‘go slow’ protest earlier this year over tough new rules on emissions, which could force any cab made before September 2016 off Wakefield’s roads.

Meanwhile, rudeness, overcharging and using a phone while driving were among the reasons passengers complained about their taxi driver between 2014 and 2017.

A total of 573 complaints were made to Wakefield Council during the four years about private hire vehicles and Hackney carriages. 

The most recent complaint on record was made on July 13 this year, and related to an incident where a driver allegedly grabbed a girl’s arm. 

In numbers – what have drivers lost their licence for? 

Being disqualified from driving – 7

Plying for hire – 3

Having nine or more points on licence – 2

Wounding with intent – 2

Perverting the course of justice – 2

No insurance – 1

Distributing indecent photographs and making indecent images of children – 1

Possess with intent to supply Class A drugs – 1