Sex offenders 'granted taxi licences'

Matt Dickinson,Press Association
Monday 11 January 2010 08:58

Criminals with convictions for offences including indecent assault and drug dealing are knowingly being granted taxi driver licences, an investigation claimed today.

According to the BBC, 209 people with previous convictions have been given a licence across the West Midlands region over the past three years, despite criminal records checks being carried out.

In Wolverhampton, the broadcaster said, a man who between 1985 and 2005 had carried out more than 30 offences was deemed suitable to become a taxi driver in 2006.

A spokesman for Wolverhampton City Council said the council had received no complaints regarding this driver since the private licence was granted.

The investigation findings come after a series of freedom of information requests to councils and police authorities across the region.

It found several drivers operating in Worcester with criminal convictions, the BBC said.

A spokesman for the council's licensing committee said members followed guidelines issued by the Metropolitan Police and by the Lord Chief Justice.

"The third criteria is whether we would allow our daughter, if (we) had one, to get in the cab," the spokesman said.

He added that convictions for drugs and sexual offences were "a complete no-no".

A spokesman for the National Taxi Association said people with previous convictions tended to have their applications decided on merit.

He told the BBC: "If someone does have a lot of previous convictions he is likely to have to go before a council and explain himself."

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