Bolsover District Council fears plans to end strict checks for cabbies

Taxis.
Taxis.

Council chiefs fear Government plans to end strict vetting procedures for licensed and private hire cabbies could allow abusive criminals to become taxi drivers.

Bolsover District Council currently ensures taxi drivers have to be licensed under its vetting process but the Government’s Deregulation Bill would allow people to drive the vehicles without proper checks.

The council believes this will put vulnerable adults and children at risk from sexual exploitation and abuse after recent cases elsewhere highlighted how abusers have used their cabs to target victims.

Bolsover District Council’s cabinet member for community cohesion, Councillor Karl Reid said: “We have very strict and tight controls over who we grant a license to in Bolsover district and as a council we are finding it extremely difficult to understand why they would want to deregulate this as it will put more people at risk.

“When people get into a branded, licensed vehicle they trust the driver, they trust that they have been properly vetted and trust that their credentials have been checked thoroughly. But this proposal will remove all these checks and basically give the criminal element more of an opportunity to use taxis to target vulnerable people.”

The council is writing to Bolsover MP Dennis Skinner to consider this matter with a view to opposing the proposal.

Cllr Reid added: “We have to retain our powers to check everyone getting behind the wheel of a taxi or private hire vehicle.”