Taxi drivers could potentially require an Enhanced criminal record check before they are granted a licence after new proposals were released last week.
If the tender is approved, every council in the UK will be instructed to carry out DBS checks on all applicants before they start work.
Current government guidelines state that every council is permitted to set their own driver’s standards, however, this may soon change if the guidelines are approved.
The BBC news have revealed that the plans could signal the introduction of national minimum standards and would include a database so that any applicant refused licence from one council cannot apply to another location.
Taxi drivers have a responsibility to keep their passengers safe and the general public put their welfare in the hands of a driver during a cab journey. However, despite councils being encouraged to ‘be aware’ of serious past crimes such as sexual assault, some decide against checking their drivers which can have devastating implications.
The proposals have occurred since the ‘black cab rapist’ case concerning John Worboys came into the media spotlight. Worboys is believed to have carried out nearly 100 rapes and assaults on women that he picked up in his taxi between 2002 and 2008, but it was only in 2009 that he was arrested for 19 of these offences and the High Court became involved.
Taxis minister Nusrat Ghani told the BBC news that despite most taxi drivers acting responsibly, there are many cab drivers who will take advantage of their position and “use it to pray on vulnerable people, women, and children”.
Other measures which are currently being considered by The Department of Transport include vehicles being fitted with CCTV cameras, but this has yet to be confirmed.
The proposals are only expected to affect England primarily, but Wales will be set guidelines soon.
Some have argued that the implementation of these guidelines will not have enough impact and that new laws should be introduced as a better means of protecting passengers.
The consultation is expected to run until 22nd April.
If you have any questions regarding this topic or if you are a business owner who requires a DBS check for your taxi drivers, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 0333 777 8575.