Taxi licence loophole closed to improve public safety in Rother

Taxi rank
Taxi rank

Steps to close a loophole in Rother’s taxi licensing system have bee taken by the district council.

At a meeting on Monday (October 22), the authority’s licensing committee agreed to delegate more powers to officers, allowing them to immediately revoke all parts of a taxi licence where there are concerns around public safety.

Before approving the decision, licensing officer Richard Parker-Harding told councillors that the move was intended to close a loophole, where those who had their taxi driver’s licence revoked could  still keep their operator’s and vehicle licence.

According to Mr Parker-Harding, the need to extend the delegated powers had been highlighted by a recent case where it would have been desirable to remove all three simultaneously.

He said: “This power has only been used twice in the last three years in cases of allegations of serious sexual misconduct.

“I would like to emphasise that there is no desire for officers to use the delegated powers except in exceptional cases and they will only use those powers after consultation with the chairman and vice-chairman of [the licensing] committee.

“A recent case has highlighted that we do have a bit of an anomaly in that officers have the power to revoke a driver’s licence but not their operator’s licence or vehicle licence. This meant they could in theory still be an operator and accept bookings for another driver in that vehicle.”

Mr Parker-Harding added that the licence holder would still be breaking the law if they drove the vehicle themselves.

The committee unanimously agreed to delegate the powers.