Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

1.

Exclusion of the Public and Press

Consideration of reports containing exempt information within the meaning of section 100I and paragraph 1 part 1 Schedule 12A Local Government Act 1972.

Minutes:

RESOLVED to exclude the public and press for the following items on the grounds that they contained exempt information within the meaning of s.1 etc

2.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Licence

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver’s licence.

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer gave a summary of the report.

 

The driver had first been granted a 3 year private hire/hackney carriage driver’s licence by this authority on 16 June 2016. His licence came up for renewal on 31 May 2019. He submitted a new medical and DBS certificate as required, however although the new certificate showed no new convictions since the previous one issued in 2015, following the introduction of a new ‘policy on deciding the suitability of applicants and licensees in the hackney and private hire trades’, which came into effect on 1 May 2019, the driver no longer met the licensing standards for new drivers. This was because of conviction 6 for driving a motor vehicle with excess alcohol on 19 September 2011 for which he was given a 12 month ban. It was open to Members to depart from their policy if it was reasonable in all the circumstances to do so.

 

The driver said he had driven for his firm for over 3 years and had a letter of support from his boss. He had played a role in establishing better behaviour of a child with extremely challenging needs and behaviour who he drove to school. The sooner he could get back to driving her, the better it would be for her.

 

At 10.15, the Committee retired to make its decision.

 

At 10.20, the Committee returned.

 

The decision was read to the driver.

 

 

DECISION NOTICE

 

The application before the Panel today is for the renewal of the driver’s joint private hire/hackney carriage licence number PH/HC1648 under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. The licence expired on 31st May 2019 and the driver was first licenced by this authority on 16th June 2016. He is employed by 24 x 7 (Hants) Ltd on school contract work – so far as we know his licence was granted in order that he might take up this role and we have in the papers before us a letter from them supporting this application.

 

We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the driver, and we have also seen, as has he, the background documents annexed thereto, including a DBS check dated 10th May 2019 and showing an old conviction for driving with excess alcohol dated 19th September 2011 for which he received a 12 month disqualification from driving.

 

Though the driver has been licensed by UDC for three years, this was under the under the Council’s old policy, a copy of which we have seen. Under this, a person who had been disqualified from driving for any reason would not be granted a licence until 3 years after the expiry of the disqualification, and the driver met this requirement in June 2016.  However, the Council’s new policy states at point 2.26 that “where an applicant has a conviction for drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs, a licence will not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Licence

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver’s licence.

Minutes:

The Chair bought items 6 and 7 forward in proceedings. These items were dealt with in tandem.

 

The Enforcement Officer gave a summary of the report.

 

On 13 May 2019, the driver emailed the licensing department to notify them that he had moved address. He also notified them that he had made a mistake with temporary cover which resulted in him receiving six penalty points on his licence when he bought the policy he put the wrong date on the temporary cover. He was stopped by the Police who seized the vehicle, and the driver had to pay a fixed penalty notice of £300 and received six penalty points on his licence. Officer asked the driver if he had notified his insurance company and the driver said that he had not but would tell them upon renewal of his current policy.

 

Uttlesford District Council’s suitability policy includes criteria that applicants should meet if they wish to be licensed by Uttlesford District Council, including not having committed an offence of driving without insurance.

 

The driver’s employer said the driver had accidentally clicked on the wrong date on an app when filling in the application for temporary cover. He would never knowingly drive a vehicle without insurance. He was an excellent driver who had received many compliments.

 

In response to a Member question, the driver said he had not informed the Council of receiving the penalty points within 7 working days because he had been moving and it had been a stressful time. He had informed his insurer of receiving the penalty points after the Enforcement Officer had prompted him to do so.

 

At 10.45, the Committee retired to make its decision.

 

At 11.25, the Committee returned.

 

The decision was read to the driver.

 

 

DECISION NOTICE –

 

The application before the Panel today is for the suspension or revocation  of the driver’s  joint private hire/hackney carriage licence number PH/HC0706 under S61  (1) (b) Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.- any other reasonable cause. The licence is due to expire on 28th February 2022 and the driver was first licenced by this authority on 5th March 2015. He also holds a private hire vehicle lice reference no PHV 1595 (See post) and drives for STS Taxis Ltd a private hire operator. His line manager accompanied him to the hearing this morning and spoke in support of him.

 

We have had the opportunity of reading the officer’s report in this case, a copy of which has been served on the driver, and we have also seen, as has he, the background documents annexed thereto, including a DVLA DriverCheck dated 13th May 2019, the Council’s Licensing Standards, some email correspondence, and the notes of a telephone discussion the driver had with the Enforcement Officer on 31st May 2019.

 

On 13th May 2019 the Licensing Department received an email from the driver advising them of a) a change of residential address, and that b)due to an administrative error on his part he  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Determination of a Private Hire/Hackney Carriage Driver's Licence

To determine a private hire/hackney carriage driver’s licence.

Minutes:

Items 4 and 5 were dealt with in tandem.

 

The Enforcement Officer gave a summary of the reports.

 

On 20 April 2019, the Council received an email from Essex Police reporting that the Police had received a report from a female who alleged that she had been in a taxi where the driver had offered her money for sexual favours. The alleged victim did not provide a witness statement to the Police as she was unwilling to go through the procedure and to go to Court. She had consumed alcohol on the evening but did not appear to be heavily intoxicated and was able to communicate with the Officers when they saw her. The morning after the journey the female passenger did post a message on a local crime page on Facebook warning other customers about travelling with the driver.

 

The complainant attended the Council Offices on 29 April 2019 and met the Enforcement Officer who assisted her in supplying a witness statement. She confirmed that she got in the front of the vehicle and recognised the driver who she knew to be a taxi driver around Saffron Walden. She told him where she wanted to be dropped off and he proceeded to drive. The driver then offered her money in return for sexual favours.

 

The complainant then said the driver drove very slowly along her road almost on purpose. She asked how much the fare was as she could not see a meter and he told her it was £5. She stated that she did not have quite enough and paid him just over £4 and she would give him the rest when she sees him on the taxi rank, which he apparently agreed to. The driver was still allegedly very persistent and the complainant said she would think about it so that she could get out of the vehicle. She then claimed that she went to exit the vehicle but it was locked and he then grabbed her tight arm and said he would wait. The driver then allegedly asked if she had his number and she said no and he gave her his business card with his phone number on.

 

When she got in her house she spoke to members of her family and decided to call the Police who attended soon after. She confirmed that she photographed the business card and emailed it to the Police.

 

The driver attended a meeting with the Enforcement Officer and the Environmental Health Manager Protection on 30 April 2019, to discuss the allegations. The driver confirmed that he did pick up the passenger from outside the Old English Gentleman pub and transported the passenger home about five minutes later. The driver said that the fare was £5 and whilst in the car the passenger realised that she had no money in her purse. The driver said that she tried to leave without paying. When she attempted to leave the driver claimed that he told her to pay and she became  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.