Published Monday, 23rd October 2017
Councils in Surrey are seeking views about proposed changes to current taxi and private hire licensing policy, in a consultation running until Monday 4 December.
The proposed changes include the adoption of a new taxi and private hire convictions policy and mandatory child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness training for all drivers.
Residents and businesses can take part in the consultation online.
All Surrey councils are revising their licensing policies for taxi and private hire drivers to provide a more consistent approach to training and assessment of drivers across the county. This means someone who fails to get a licence in one part of Surrey won’t be able to apply for one in another, as all councils will adopt the same approach.
In addition, when deciding whether an applicant is suitable to hold a licence, all councils will take into account criminal convictions, along with factors such as general character and behaviour, non-criminal behaviour and other police information.
The changes also include the introduction of mandatory safeguarding training for taxi drivers who want to get or keep a licence. This will help drivers be more aware of and help spot signs of CSE and inform them of the best ways to report concerns for children or vulnerable adults at risk.
Councillor Graham Knight, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s Executive Member for Enforcement, says: “I encourage our residents to take part in the consultation and tell us their views on the proposals. All Surrey borough and district councils are working closely together to achieve a consistent approach to licensing and training drivers to spot and report signs of child sexual exploitation with the aim of helping prevent children and young people being exploited in this way.”
Following the consultation, the results will be analysed and the final policies agreed in early 2018.
The proposals are part of a Surrey wide Child Sexual Exploitation Strategy which seeks to introduce a number of changes across all 11 Surrey districts and boroughs to protect vulnerable children. The initiative will be supported by an awareness campaign to reinforce safety messages to all taxi users.