Safety Fears Over Relaxing Rules For Taxi Drivers
7:34am 4th July 2014
Dorset's Police and Crime Commissioner has said cutting rules for taxi drivers, would increase the chance of people being raped after a night out.
A Deregulation Bill is currently going through Parliament that would see certain safeguards around private hire vehicles and licensed drivers relaxed.
Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill has joined a cross-party group of commissioners calling for a rethink:
"People need to be sure that when they get into a marked private hire vehicle they know it's genuine and driven by a licensed operator. These new measures put people at risk which is why we have written to Ken Clarke, to urge him to introduce a dedicated Taxi Bill."
Currently, only licensed private hire drivers can get behind the wheel of a marked private hire vehicle; drivers have to be regularly relicensed and there are restrictions on vehicles operating across local authority boundaries.
But under the Deregulation Bill, these limited safeguards are to be swept away, opening up the prospect of a private hire free-for-all, with no guarantees that the driver of a vehicle are who they say they are.
PCC Underhill's concerns are backed by licensing officials, police, the taxi trade and organisations that work with victims of rape and sexual assault.
The Commissioners are calling on the government to ensure that people can be "Be Sure, Be Safe" when getting into a private hire cab.