OXFORD CITY COUNCIL

 

POLICY ON THE RELEVANCE OF WARNINGS, OFFENCES, CAUTIONSAND CONVICTIONS

 

Contents

Introduction.. 3

Licensing Objectives. 3

Status. 3

EnforcementProcedures. 4

Definitions. 5

Introduction to the Guidelines Relating to the Relevance of Convictions. 6

Powers and Duties. 6

Suitability. 7

Offences,Cautions and Convictions. 7

A “Fit and ProperPerson” 8

Protecting the Public. 8

History. 8

Best PracticeGuidance. 9

GUIDELINES RELATING TO THE RELEVANCE OF WARNINGS, OFFENCES, CAUTIONS AND CONVICTIONS.. 9

General Policy. 9

Driving & Traffic Offences. 9

Motor Insurance Offences. 10

Major traffic offences. 11

Plying for Hire. 11

Drunkenness (With Motor Vehicle) 12

Drunkenness (Not in Motor Vehicle) 12

Drugs. 12

Police Bail 12

Police Recommendation.. 12

Indecency Offences. 12

Violence. 13

Dishonesty. 13

Complaints Made Against Drivers. 13

Warnings Issued by the Licensing Officers. 14

Conclusion.. 14

APPENDICES.. 15

Appendix 1: Table of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 15

 


 

                                                                                                                                             


POLICY ON THE RELEVANCE OF WARNINGS, OFFENCES, CAUTIONS AND CONVICTIONS

 

Consideration of the Grant, Renewal, Suspension or Revocation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licences, Vehicle Licences, and Private Hire Operator Licences.

 

Introduction

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire have a specific role to play in an integrated transport system. They are able to provide services in situations where public transport is either not available (for example in rural areas, oroutside normal hours” of operation such as in the evenings or onSundays). The Hackney Carriage/Private Hire vehicles play an integral part in the dispersal of people to support the night time economy.

 

It is the Council's wish to facilitate well-run and responsible businesses which display sensitivity to the wishes andneeds of the general public. Its purpose, therefore, is to prevent licences being given to or used by those who are not suitable people taking into account their driving record, their driving experience, their sobriety, mental and physical fitness, honesty, andthat they are people who would not take advantage of their employment to cause distress, harm or suffering to any passenger or other person.

 

It is important that the Council's powers are used to ensure that Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles inthe City are safe and comfortable and that the powers are exercised in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

Licensing Objectives

The Licensing Authority will carry out its Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing functions with a view to promoting the following licensing objectives:

 

     Safety and health of drivers andthe public;

     The promotion of a professional and respected Hackney Carriage and

Private Hire trade;

     To prevent crime and disorder and to protect consumers;

     Improve the local environment, economyand quality of life; and

     To promote the aims and vision of Oxford City Council and its Partners.

 

The aim of the licensing process, in this context, is to regulate the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire trade inorder to promote the above objectives. In promoting these licensing objectives the Authority will expect to seelicence holders and applicants continuously demonstrate they can meet or exceed specifications set by the Council.

 

Status

In exercising its discretion in carrying out its regulatory functions, the Council will have regard to this policy document and the objectives set out above. Notwithstanding the existence of this policy and any other relevant Council policy, eachcase will beconsidered on its own merits.

 

Where it is necessary for the Authority to depart substantially from this policy, clear and compelling reasons will be given for doing so. The purpose of this document is to formulate guidelines which detail the Council’s current stance on the relevance of warnings, offences, cautions and convictions in respect of applications for the grant of new licences, and the renewal of existing Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle driver’s, operators and proprietors licences, andthe maintaining of such licences.


The Council expects licence holders to comply with the conditions and regulations pertaining to the licence immediately. It is acknowledged, however, that certain provisions may place financial obligations on existing licence holders and accordingly the Council is prepared to permit a transitional period which will be determined by officers acting under delegated powers, during which necessary changes must be made.

 

The aim of the licensing regime to which these guidelines relate is not to punish the applicant twice foran offence (which includes a caution or a conviction), butto ensure that public safety is not compromised. The objective of the licensing regime is to ensure that, so far as possible, those licensed to drive Hackney Carriages and

Private Hire vehicles are suitable persons to do so, namely that they are safe drivers with good driving records and adequate experience, sober, mentally andphysically fit, and honest; and that they are persons who would not take advantage of their position to abuse, assault or defraud customers.

 

These guidelines will betaken into account by the Licensing Officers when processing applications.

 

Enforcement Procedures

It is this Authoritys policy to deal with enforcement matters relating to anapplicant or existing licence holders bymeans of Licensing Officers, the Head of Community Services, the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee and the Courts. The expectation of the Authority is that anyperson who seeks the grant of a licence, or who holds a licence, meets with our definition of a fit and properperson. Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers maintain close contact with the public and are therefore not expected to behave or act in a manner that may:

 

     cause any person to take offence at their actions

     cause any person to believe their actions are inappropriate

     cause any person to fear of their physical safety

     cause any person to doubttheir integrity

     brings in to disrepute the integrity of the Council for having granted such a person a licence

     fail to adhere to the conditions and regulations pertaining to the licence

 

Any complaints or enforcement measures are dealt with in the first instance by the Licensing Officers by way of a Warning” system. Any failures on the part of an applicant or existing licence holder to uphold the Licensing Objectives or to adhere to the conditions and regulations pertaining to the licence may result inany of the

following actions (including Officers requesting that additional background checks be carried out):

 

     the issue of a warning (appropriate to the incident reported)

     the issue of a higher level of warning (appropriate to the incident reported and having regard to the history of the licence holder)

     the request for an interview to be held in accordance with the Police and

Criminal Evidence Act 1984

     the issue of a Formal Caution

     the referral of the matter to the Head of Community Services

     the referral of the matter to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire

Licensing Sub-Committee

     the referral of the matter to the Law andGovernance department for consideration of prosecution


 

Definitions

 

Appeal: A means by which a decision under delegated authority can be reviewed by the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court. The decision of the Council may be

upheld or overturned.

 

Offence: commonly used to signify any public wrong, including crimes or indictable offences and offences punishable on summary conviction.

 

Caution: A caution is a formal warning given to an adult who has admitted to the commission of an offence and has consented to the caution.

 

Conviction: Judicially determining that someone is guilty of a crime

 

Free of convictions: This means a period since your last conviction in which you remain free of anyfurther convictions. In the case of a custodial sentence this means the periods given will run from the date that the full sentence awarded by the court would have been completed.

 

Fit and Proper Person: A person who is of nothreat to the general public, has a good City knowledge, is healthy, is of a good character (including driving record) and is therefore deemed fit and able to hold a licence.

 

Hackney Carriages: A vehicle that can carry passengers for hire or reward can be hailed by a prospective passenger and can park ona rank to await the approach of passengers; a vehicle available for public Hire.

 

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee: A committee having powers given to it bythe General Purposes Licensing Committee of the Council, to determine the suitability of an applicant to be granted a licence or existing licence holder to maintain a licence, when the Head of Community Services

is unable to determine whether such a person meets the Authoritys definition of a fit andproperperson.

 

Head of Community Services: Who holds delegated authority to make day to day decisions regarding the suitability of any person seeking the grant or renewal of a licence, and the suspension of any licence holder.

 

Mitigating Circumstances: The circumstances surrounding an offence, caution or conviction. These may alter the seriousness of a crime.

 

Private Hire Vehicles: A vehicle which must be pre-booked with a Private Hire operator. This type of vehicle cannot ply for hire (stand in a rank, wait without a booking in a prominent positiongiving rise to the impression that the vehicle is available for hire, or undertake a journey that has not been pre-booked by the hirer with the Private Hire Operator).

 

Proprietor: The person in possession of a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire vehicle licence.

 

Operator: This means a business that makes provision for the invitation or acceptance of bookings fora Private Hire vehicle.

 

Refusal: To decide not to give something.

(Within this Policy any reference to refusal will also be a reference torevocation or suspension).

 

Revoke: To take something away permanently.

 

Suspend: To take something away temporarily.


Advisory Warning: Either verbally given or a letter advising that although an offence, caution or conviction was notserious enough to have warranted a First Level Warning, the offence committed is unacceptable and has caused concern to the Council as to the suitability to hold such a licence. If, in the future, similar behaviour is illustrated, the consequences could be more severe, possibly leading to an escalation in the level ofwarning issued, or the suspension of the licence.

 

First Level Warning: A letter advising that although an offence, caution or conviction was notserious enough to have warranted a Second Level Warning, the offence committed is unacceptable and has caused concern to the Council as to the suitability to hold such a licence. If, in the future, similar behaviour is illustrated, the consequences could be much more severe, possibly leading to the suspension of the licence

 

Second Level Warning: A letter advising that although anoffence, caution or conviction was not serious enough to have warranted the refusal, suspension or revocation of the licence, the offence committed is unacceptable and has caused concern to the Council as to the suitability to hold such a licence. If, in the future, similar behaviour is illustrated, the consequences could be much more severe, possibly leading to the suspension of the licence.

 

Final Warning: A letter advising that although an offence, caution or conviction was not serious enough to have warranted the refusal, suspension or revocation of the licence, the offence committed is unacceptable and has caused concern to the Council as to the suitability to hold such a licence. If, in the future, similar behaviour is illustrated, the licence holder should expect the matter to be met with the suspension / revocation of his/her licence.

 

Councillor Warning: A Decision issued by the Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee (likely to also include additional conditions being imposed ona licence) advising that although an offence, caution or conviction, and / or accumulation of Warnings issued by the Licensing Officers was notserious enough to have warranted the refusal, suspension or revocation of the licence, the offence committed is unacceptable and has caused concern to the Council as tothe suitability to hold such a licence. If, in the future, similar behaviour isillustrated, the

licence holder should expect thematter to bemet with the suspension / revocation of his/her licence.

 

Introduction to the Guidelines Relating to the Relevance of Convictions

Powers and Duties

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and Town Police Clauses Act1847 (as amended), Road Safety Act 2006 (Sections 52-53) places on Oxford City Council (the Authority) the duty to carry out its licensing functions in respect of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicles.

 

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 is summarised at Appendix 1.0. However, Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers are listed asregulated occupations within the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order (Amendment) (No2)

2002. No conviction is categorised as spent under this Order. All categories that criminal offences fall into are deemed to berelevant to the role of a Private Hire and Hackney Carriage driver.

 

In order to assess an individual’s suitability to hold a licence, this Authority requires all applicants to provide an Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau Disclosure and a DVLADisclosure; and the Authority will take into account all endorsement penalty points, cautions and convictions when considering an application for a driver’s licence, irrespective of offence, sentenceimposed or age when the offence is committed.


All motoring and criminal offences must bedeclared on the application form. Any failure to declare any endorsement penalty points, offences, cautions or convictions either when making an application, or within 7 days of receipt of their issue, may

lead to the appropriate enforcement actions being taken in regard to the suitability of such a person being considered fit and properto hold a licence issued by the Authority.

 

Suitability

The legislation states that the Council may grant a licence onlyif it is satisfied that the person is fit and proper – the onus is on the applicant to prove this, not the Council to demonstrate that they are not.

 

Where sufficient and appropriate enforcement measures have been taken by the Licensing Officers, in relation to a licence holder who has displayed a propensity to fail to adhere to the conditions and regulations pertaining to his or her licence, their suitability to hold a licence may be placed before the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee to determine. It is therefore advisable for all new applicants and existing licence holders to be familiar with the content of this Policy on the Relevance of Warnings, Offences, Cautions and Convictions, and with the criteria, conditions and regulations specific to the licence that they hold.

 

Full details of the criteria, conditions and regulations relating to the Taxi Licensing function can be found in the following documents, or on the Council website:

     Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Driver Licence Application Pack

     Hackney Carriage & Private Hire Vehicle Licence Application Pack

     Private Hire Operator Licence Application Pack

 

Offences, Cautions and Convictions

The Licensing Officer is required to look at any past indicators (convictions, including formal cautions, fixed penalties, speeding offences, etc) that may affect a persons suitability to hold a Hackney Carriage/Private Hire driver’s licence and consider the possible implications of granting such a licence to that person.

 

The imposition of a fixed penalty in place of a prosecution under any enactment may be considered a relevant indicator of suitability. In addition, applicants must disclose anyrecent formal cautions they have received and any pending matters.

 

The disclosure of anyconviction will not necessarily prevent an applicant from being issued a licence. However, all convictions, spent or live, will beassessed.

 

Cautions are included under thedefinition of convictions’ and they will also be taken into consideration. Although these are generally not as serious as convictions, they can give some indication as to an applicants character and whether they are a fit and proper person to hold or be granted a licence. The Licensing Officer will bear in mind that a caution is given where there is sufficient evidence for a prosecution and guilt has been admitted. Cautions will be taken in to consideration for a period of five years.

 

Penalty notices are similar tofixed penalties, but are issued for a wide range of offences of an anti-social nature, including behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others, drunk and disorderly behaviour in a public place, destroying or damaging property up to the value of £500, retail theft under £200, sale of alcohol toa person under 18 years ofage, selling alcohol toa drunken person or using threatening words or behaviour. This will be viewed in an appropriate light given the nature of the offence.


The Licensing Officer may refer to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 as part oftheir assessment of the convictions. A summary of the Actis provided at Appendix 1.0. The fact that a conviction is not yet spent under the Act may be relevant in the determination. However, the Exemption Order means that for all practical purposes, it is as ifthe Rehabilitation of Offenders Act had never been passed for licensed drivers. Therefore Licensing Officers may disregard the Actif they consider itnecessary in a particular case.

 

If a Court or the Police have found as a matter of fact that a person has committed an offence, that person cannot then sayto the Licensing Officer that he / she did not commit the offence; and if they seek to doso, their representations will not be taken into consideration. The applicant can, however, explain any mitigating factors that led to them committing the offence and the Licensing Officer can take these into account in deciding whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold or be granted a licence. Such cases may be referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee for determination.

 

In the case of offences that have led to a term of imprisonment, the periods given will run from the date that the full sentence awarded by the court would have been completed.

 

A“Fit and Proper Person”

When considering whether someone should serve the public, the range of passengers thata driver may carry should be borne in mind. For example, elderly people, unaccompanied children, the disabled, those who have had too much to drink, lone women, foreign visitors and unaccompanied property. Some areas give rise to particular concern, including:

     Honesty and trustworthiness drivers often have knowledge that a customer

is leaving a houseempty; they have opportunities to defraud drunken, vulnerable orforeign people or tosteal property left in cars. They must not abuse their position of trust.

     Not abusive drivers are often subject tounpleasant or dishonest behaviour.

The Council does not consider that this excuses anyaggressive or abusive conduct onthe part of the driver. Drivers are expected to avoid confrontation, and to address disputes through the proper legal channels. In nocircumstances should they take the lawinto their own hands.

     A good and safe driver Passengers paying for a transport service rely on their driver to get them to their destination safely. They are professional drivers and should be fully aware of all Road Traffic legislation and conditions attached to the licence. A person who has committed an offence and has to wait a period of time before being accepted as a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire driver is more likely to value his/her licence and act accordingly.

 

Protecting the Public

The over-riding consideration for the Licensing Officer is to protect the public. Having considered and applied the appropriate guidelines, the Licensing Officer will determine each case on its own merits.

 

History

The Licensing Officer may take into account a person’s history whilst holding a licence, from this or any other authority. The Licensing Officer may take into account, in deciding whether a person is a fit and proper person to hold (or to continue to hold) a licence, such matters as the record of complaints about them,

also their compliance with Licence conditions and their willingness to co-operate with the reasonable requests of Licensing Officers.


Best Practice Guidance

In formulating this policy, advicecontained in the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Best PracticeGuidance issued by the Department for Transport, and the advice provided by the Instituteof Licensing has been taken into account.


 


GUIDELINES RELATING TO THE RELEVANCE OF WARNINGS, OFFENCES, CAUTIONS AND CONVICTIONS

 

General Policy

 

1.  Each case will bedecided on its own merits.

 

2.  A person with a current conviction for serious crime need not be permanently barred from obtaining a licence but should be expected to remain free of conviction for 3 to 5 years, according to the circumstances, before an application is entertained. Some discretion may be appropriate if the offence isisolated and there are mitigating circumstances. However, theoverriding consideration must be the protection of the public.

 

3.  In the case of offences that have led to a term of imprisonment, whether or not suspended, the periods given will run from the date that the full sentence awarded by the court would have been completed.

 

4.  Cautions will betaken in to consideration for a period of five years.

 

5.  A new applicant is a person who has not previously held a licence with this authority or whose licence had expired for 12 months before the application form was received in the Taxi Licensing Office.

 

6.  Warnings issued by the Licensing Officers shall be considered relevant to the determination of the suitability of all applicants and existing licence holders with regard to the grant or continuation of a licence issued by the Authority.

 

The following examples afford a general guide on the action to be taken where convictions are admitted.

 

Driving & Traffic Offences

Private Hire and Hackney Carriage drivers are considered professional drivers and must be aware of the safety of their passengers and the safety of their vehicles at all times.

 

Any traffic offences show a lack ofresponsibility whilst driving either due to the maintenance and safety of their vehicle or inthe manner of their driving.

 

Convictions for traffic offences should not necessarily prevent a person from proceeding with anapplication. However, the number, type and frequency of an offence will be taken into account. In some cases it may be appropriate to issue a licence together with a strong warning as to future driving conduct. If a significant history of offences is disclosed, an application may be refused.

 

Whilst the imposition of a Fixed Penalty Notice does not lead to a conviction, it never the less attracts penalty points to a DVLA licence. The Council considers death by careless drivingor death by dangerous drivingto be a very serious and you should therefore refer to the Major Traffic Offencessection. For information on alcohol and drug related offences see Drunkenness & Drugssections.

 

New applicants should not normally be considered if they have acquired more than three penalty points within the twelve months prior to the application for the grant of a licence; or they have in the previous two years been convicted of any single offence which resulted in a points penalty of five or more points, or offences totalling more than sixpoints.


If sufficient points have been accrued or offences committed resulting in a period of disqualification of the applicants DVLA driving licence then an application for a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire driver licence may not normally be considered until a period of twenty-four months has elapsed following its restoration and a warning should be issued as tofuture conduct.

 

If the DVLA driving licence of anapplicant or an existing driver is revoked following the acquisition of sixor more points during the first two years since passing the DVLA driving test, then a period of 24 months following the restoration of thelicence

must have elapsed before a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire driving licence may be applied for.

 

Drivers already licensed who are convicted during the course of the licence of any single offence which results in a penalty of five or more points or acquires nine or more penalty points, should be interviewed and may be referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee.

 

When a driver who is already licensed with this authority is disqualified from holding or obtaining a DVLA driving licence, the licence will be suspended. A period of 24 months following the restoration of the licence must have elapsed before a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire driving licence application may be considered. The driver may be required to appear before the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee before the licence is reinstated.

 

Drivers already licensed and applicants awaiting the grant of a licence must inform theTaxi Licensing office within 7 days of anyconviction.

 

For existing licence holders, a guideline is provided below in relation to penalty points:

 

5 or less penalty points: For 5 or fewer points on an applicants driving licence, a licence will usually be granted, with anadvisory warning.

 

6 or more penalty points: Where any applicant has 6 or more penalty points on their driving licence the Licensing Officer will usually consider granting the licence with a written warning unless exceptional circumstances justify a refusal.

 

“Totting Up” under S35 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988: Where an applicant has been disqualified under the totting upprocedures, the Licensing Officers will normally consider refusal until there has been a period of 12 months free of relevant convictions. Ifan applicant has agreed exceptional hardshipand avoided disqualification, refusal will still be considered and a period of 12 months free of relevant convictions required.

 

Motor Insurance Offences

An isolated incident inthe past should not necessarily bar anapplicant from being issued a licence; however, the Council takes a serious view of motor insurance offences. More than one conviction for these offences should raise serious doubts as to an applicants suitability to hold a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire licence. In this instance, at least 3 years after restoration of the DVLA driving licence should elapse before an applicant, who has been disqualified from driving for an insurance offence, can be considered.

 

Major traffic offences

E.g. dangerous driving, drive whilst disqualified, fail to stop after an accident, using a handheld mobile telephone whilst driving, no insurance, careless driving, using vehicle with defective brakes/tyres/steering wheel etc. If the applicant has been convicted of one isolated major traffic offence a period of 12 months free of convictions will usually be expected prior to consideration of grant.


If the applicant has been convicted of two or more major traffic offences then a licence will not normally be granted until the applicant has completed at least a period of 2 years free from conviction. This period may increase where the combination of offences are considered to increase the risk to the public.

 

We consider death by careless drivingor death by dangerous drivingto bea very serious offence. If the applicant has been convicted ofsuch an offence a period of 3 years free of convictions will usually be expected prior to consideration of an application. In all such cases, the matter will be determined by the Hackney Carriage

& Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee.

 

Plying for Hire

A serious view is taken of this offence, particularly since the vehicle will almost certainly have been carrying fare-paying passengers whilst uninsured. The offence is making ones vehicle available for public hire whilst using a licensed Private Hire vehicle.

 

It is not appropriate for Private Hire drivers to park in prominent positions (i.e. where people are likely to congregate, locations with a high level of footfall, near a taxi rank), without apre-booked journey having been provided by the Private Hire Operator. If witnessed by the Licensing Officer, the licence holder should expect further enforcement measures to be taken against them, including a full inspection

of the driver and vehicle against the conditions relating to both licences.

 

The Licensing Officer may request from the Private Hire Operator details of all bookings given to the driver, and further evidence if required that would assist with theLicensing Officer’s case. If a Private Hire Operator is complicit in allowing the driver to book a journey, rather than the passenger book the journey directly with the Operator, the Operator should expect for the Licensing Officer to undertake any necessary enforcement measures against the company itself.

 

The Licensing Authority regularly carries outwhat are known as Test Purchase” Operations, where attempts are made to ascertain whether individual licence holders and Private Hire Operators knowingly ply for hire. If anylicence holder is found to benon-compliant with regard to this matter during such an operation, they should expect the matter to result ina prosecution against them in the Courts. If

convicted bythe Court of a single offence of plying for hire, the licence holder will be required to appear before the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub- Committee, where the licence holder should expect to receive a revocation of their licence.

 

If a licence is revoked a period of twenty-four months should have elapsed before anyapplication is considered.

 

Drunkenness (With Motor Vehicle)

A serious view should be taken of convictions of driving or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. A conviction for this offence should raise grave doubts as to the applicants’ fitness to hold a licence and at least 3 years should elapse (after the restoration of the driving licence) before anapplication for a licence is considered.

 

If there is any suggestion that the applicant is an alcoholic, a special medical examination should be arranged before the application is entertained. If the applicant isfound to be an alcoholic a period of 5 years should elapse after treatment is complete before a further licence application is considered.

 


Drunkenness (Not in Motor Vehicle)

An isolated conviction for drunkenness need not debar an applicant from gaining a licence. However, more than one conviction for drunkenness could indicate a medical problem necessitating critical examination.

 

Drugs

A serious view should be taken of this type of offence. An applicant with a conviction or caution for any drug related offence should be required to show a period of at least 3 years free of conviction orcaution before an application is entertained, or 5 years after detoxification treatment if he/she was an addict.

 

Any person convicted of supplying drugs should not be considered for the grant of a licence for at least 5 years following conviction. If the applicant has received a custodial sentence, the 5 years should be counted from the completion of the full sentence. If a licence is granted, the applicant should be warned of the serious consequences of driving a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs.

 

Police Bail

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers are expected to adhere to this Policy’s definition of a fit and properperson. A person who already holds a licence with the Authority, if arrested for an alleged offence, and subsequently released by the Police onbail, depending upon the nature of the alleged offence, should expect to have

their licence suspended by the Head of Community Services. The suspension shall remain in force until such time asthe case is resolved by either the Police or bythe Courts.

 

Police Recommendation

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers maintain close contact with the public, often carrying unaccompanied and vulnerable passengers, and are therefore expected to adhere to this Policys definition of a fit and properperson. Any person who is charged by the Police for an alleged offence, who in the view ofthe Police Officer represents a threat to the safety and well-being of the public, should expect

to have their licence suspended by the Head of Community Services. The suspension shall remain in force until such time as the case is resolved by either the Police or by the Courts.

 

Indecency Offences

As Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle drivers often carry unaccompanied passengers. Applicants with anycautions or convictions for indecent exposure, indecent assault, importuning, or any of the more serious sexual offences, should be refused a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire drivers licence until they can show a substantial period (at least 5 years) free of such offences before being considered to hold a licence.

 

Any applicant with a single caution or conviction of this kind should expect to have their application determined by the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee. A person with more than once caution or conviction for any indecency offence would not normally be considered to be a suitable applicant.

 

A person who already holds a licence with this Authority, if charged with any indecency offence may expect tohave their licence immediately suspended until the caseis resolved by either the Police or bythe Courts.

 

No application will be considered from a person currently on the Sex

Offenders Register.


 

Violence

As Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle drivers maintain close contact with thepublic, a firm line should be taken with applicants who have convictions for any form of offence that involves violence of any description. At least 3 years free of such convictions should be shown before an application is entertained and even then a strict warning should be given.

 

Offences involving breaches of public order should be treated seriously even if the caseresulted in the applicant being bound over. More than one offence of this nature may indicate a propensity for this type of behaviour and at least three years free of conviction should be shown before an application is entertained.

 

Dishonesty

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle drivers are expected to be persons of trust. The widespread delivery of unaccompanied property is indicative of the trust thatbusiness people place in drivers.  Moreover, it is comparatively easy for a dishonest driver to defraud the public bydemanding more than the legal fare etc.

 

Overseas visitors can be confused by the change in currency and become fair gamefor an unscrupulous driver.  Forthese reasons a serious view should be

taken of any conviction involving dishonesty. In general, a period of 3 to5 years free of conviction or if a custodial sentence, 3 to 5 years from the completion should be required before entertaining an application.

 

Failure todeclare endorsement penalty points, offences, cautions and convictions is regarded as a serious matter, whether it is through the omission of such incidents when submitting an application to the Authority, or bynot informing the Authority within 7 days ofreceipt of their issue. Any person, who fails to declare on his or her application any such issues, should expect their application to be referred to the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee, to determine their suitability to hold a licence.

 

Complaints Made Against Drivers

Complaints are frequently made against Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers. Such complaints include refusal to assist a disabled passenger, use of abusive language or refusal to accept a fare. Such complaints should be investigated and dealt with bythe Licensing Officer, and if the complaint is serious enough, the applicant may be invited to make representations. At the Officer’s discretion the applicant may be requested to attend an interview.

 

The Licensing Officer will consider the conduct oflicence holders, taking into account the circumstances surrounding any alleged incident, and the realities of the profession, where drivers are often the subject of unwarranted abuse from members ofthe public.

 

The Licensing Officer will consider the history of all complaints made against the driver to assess any patterns and if deemed appropriate request additional background checks be carried out. If a pattern is identified, then the Officer will consider whether the driver is fit and proper person to hold such a licence, and the matter referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee for determination.

 

Warnings Issued by the Licensing Officers

The Licensing Officers carry out the day to day enforcement functions of the Licensing Authority. They deal with complaints made about licence holders, and carry out enforcement operations throughout the City. Suchoperations include the inspection of Hackney Carriage vehicles atthe ranks, the checking of licensed


drivers for adherence to the conditions attached to the driver, vehicle and operator licences, and checking that licence holders are complying with the relevant regulations pertaining to the licence.

 

Any failures on behalf ofthe licence holder to adhere to the criteria, conditions and regulation pertaining to the licence, are dealt with by way of Warnings. It is this Authoritys policy to provide advice and education to the licensed trade in order to meet the licensing objectives as described in this Policy.

 

The levels ofWarning issued by the Licensing Officers are proportionate to the incidents that they deal with, however should a licence holder be found to be continually failing to meet with the requirements of their licence, the level of Warning shall be escalated, until such time as the Licensing Officer has noalternative other than to refer the matter to the Head of Community Services, the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee, or the Law and Governance

department.

 

A licence holder who has shown a propensity to fail to adhere to the conditions and regulations pertaining to his or her licence, should expect tohave additional condition imposed on the licence to ensure compliance. In certain cases the

consequences could be much more severe and the licence holder should expect the matter to be dealt with by way of the suspension or revocation of his or her licence.

 

In cases where the licence is revoked, a period of 24months must elapse before a further application may be made to the Authority. Should an applicant submit an application before 24 months has elapsed, he or sheshould expect the application to berefused by the Head of Community Services.

 

Any applicant or licence holder, who is issued with a Warning by the Licensing Officer and disagrees with that decision, has a right of appeal by way of written complaint, to the Licensing Team Leader within 21 days of the Warning being issued.

 

Conclusion

Any applicant having a previous or current conviction should not necessarily prevent them from obtaining a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire licence. A person who has committed anoffence and who is made to wait fora rehabilitation period to lapse prior to their application being accepted, is more likely to value their licence and act accordingly. However, there are certain offences that are considered so serious that they will usually prevent a person obtaining or keeping a licence.

 

It is this Authoritys policy to consider the safety, protection and well being of the general public by ensuring all licensed drivers are safe and competent drivers and are able to maintain their vehicles to an acceptable standard. The main purpose of theLicensing Officer’s assessment is toensure the public safety; not to punish or financially penalise licence holders. By applying these guidelines, the Council is seeking to maintain the high standard of quality of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire drivers, operators and proprietors in the City, which in turn maintains the good reputation of the taxi industry and the high quality of service to the travelling public.

 

Any applicant refused a licence on the grounds that the Licensing Officer is not satisfied he/she is a fit and proper person to hold such a licence, or who has had their licence suspended or revoked and disagrees with thatdecision, has a right of appeal by way of written complaint, to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days of the notice of decision.


 

APPENDICES

Appendix 1: Table of Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

 

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 provides that after a certain lapse of time, convictions for offences are to be regarded as spent. Set out below are some examples of when convictions become spent. Please note that it is from the date of conviction that the time commences for the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

 

Adult

 

Sentence

Rehabilitation Period

 

1.

2 ½ years (30 months) imprisonment and

over whether sentence was suspended or not

 

Never spent

 

2.

6 months imprisonment/youth custody and over but under 30 months whether sentence was suspended or not

 

10 years

 

3.

Under 6 months imprisonment/youth custody

whether sentence was suspended or not

 

7 years

 

4.

A Fine, Compensation or Community Service

Order

 

5 years

 

5.

Conditional Discharge, Bound Over or

Probation Order. (Also includes Fit Person, Supervision and Care Orders)

 

1 year or period of probation sentence, whichever is longer

6.

Absolute Discharge

6 months

 

 

7.

 

 

Disqualification, disability or prohibition

Period of sentence unless a

longer period as above (e.g. disqualification and a fine – 5 years)

 

8.

Remand Home/Approval School/ Attendance

Centre Orders

 

1 year after Order expires

 

 

 

9.

 

 

 

Hospital Order Under Mental Health Acts

The period of the Order plus a

further 2 years after Order expires (with a minimum of 5 years from the date of the conviction)

 

Youths

For applicants aged under 17 when the date of conviction took place 2, 3 and 4 above of the fixed rehabilitation periods are halved. Sentences which can only be passed on young offenders remain fixed and cannot be halved, i.e.

 

Sentence

Rehabilitat