Taxi drivers will sit a ‘safeguarding’ exam every two years under new rules designed to boost public safety.
The isle of Wight Council already carries out in-house safeguarding training for drivers, who must have an enhanced DBS check as part of the policy that has been in place since 2016.
Safeguarding exam every two years
Under the new taxi licensing policy approved by Cabinet yesterday (Thursday), drivers will be required to undergo regular training, including sitting a safeguarding exam every two years.
Training includes spotting and reporting safeguarding issues, such as trafficking and abuse of any kind and ‘County Lines’ activity, where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs.
Stephens: Ensuring public safety
Cllr Ian Stephens, Cabinet lead for community protection, said,
“The main aim of the taxi licensing policy is public safety and firming up safeguarding training, which already takes place, in this policy.
“These moves will make sure vulnerable and at-risk members of the public continue to be looked after safely and any concerns raised with the appropriate agency.”
Checks and standards
The move follows the publication of a central set of policies and standards by the government to help regulate the taxi and private hire sector across all local authorities covering:
- increased criminal checks on licensed drivers, operators and dispatch staff;
- extra standards to help ensure driver, vehicle and passenger safety.
Age of cars changed
Another change to the taxi policy relates to the maximum age of cars.
Under the previous rules, the maximum age of a car when applying for a new licence was three years. This has now been extended to up to five years for electric vehicles, in a bid to encourage cleaner, greener forms of taxi transport.
The council carried out a consultation with local taxi firms last year.
News shared by Isle of Wight council press office, in their own words. Ed