Agenda item

Consideration of Fit and Proper status - 22/00614/TAXI


The Public Protection Officer (Licensing) introduced the report to the Sub-Committee. He explained that they were being asked to determine whether a driver remains fit and proper to hold a combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Drivers licence.


He outlined the key points from the report.


The Chairman asked the driver to address them on why he believed he should remain considered as fit and proper to hold his licence.


The driver began by apologising to all concerned for making such a huge mistake and said that the last six months had been very tough for him and his family. He explained that in the Summer of 2022 his father had been unwell and that he had had to visit him in Pakistan. He added that while he was away he had been contacted to inform him that his home had been burgled and that this had added to the ongoing stress he was feeling.


He stated that he was truly sorry and regrets the lies he had told. He apologised for letting the Licensing team and his family down by his actions.


The Chairman acknowledged the written statements that had been received from the driver and his partner. He asked if the driver’s partner, who was present, would like to address the Sub-Committee.


She confirmed that it had recently been a stressful time for the whole family due to her father in-law being unwell. She said that her husband has a clean driving record with no convictions and is a very caring person who helps many people in the local area.


The Chairman asked the driver if he felt he had given the Sub-Committee as much information as he could regarding his case.


The driver replied that he had.


Decision and Reasons


Members have had to consider whether or not the Licensee is a fit and proper person to continue to hold his combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s licence in the light of dishonesty concerning his vehicle insurance. In doing so Members took account of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, Human Rights Act 1998, case law and the Council Policy.


Members had received and considered two lots of additional information on behalf of the Licensee. The first was an e-mail dated 10th March 2023 which had been provided by his partner, the second was an e-mail dated 14th March 2023 and was from the Licensee himself. The Licensee indicated that he had been in the taxi trade for more than 5 years without complaint or any indecent behaviour displayed at any time. He described himself as honest, law abiding, aware of his duties and responsibilities, conviction free and committed with work and in his personal life. In the period before the incident in question the Licensee’s father was severely ill, there had been a burglary at the Licensee’s home whilst he was overseas, and the Licensee was suffering greatly with stress. He admitted his mistake and described his fear and embarrassment at the situation he had put himself in. In his written and oral representations, the Licensee indicated that he was truly sorry and regretful for what he had done, he acknowledged the seriousness of it and assured Members repeatedly that it would never happen again if they gave him a second chance.


Members heard from the Licensee’s partner in oral representations who indicated that she had observed the Licensee’s guilt over what he had done. She explained that they are both responsible citizens who value everything from this country and want to give back. She described the Licensee as a caring, very empathetic person who genuinely likes helping people.


Members noted that the Licensee had held his combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s licence with BANES since 2022, although he had been in the taxi trade in another local authority area for more than 5 years, there were no complaints against him from Members of the public.


Members noted that it is imperative that the Licensee is honest to the Licensing section and that he can be trusted. It is also vitally important that he his honest in his dealings with his insurance company as a valid policy of insurance plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the travelling public. This was a serious incident and Members take a very dim view of the Licensee’s conduct in that regard.


Members found the written and oral representations made by the Licensee and his partner, to be compelling, persuasive and genuine. Members found this was an isolated and out of character occurrence involving an error of judgment which the Licensee initially found difficult to correct. Furthermore, this was in a period when the Licensee was under significant pressure in his personal life.


Members find that the Licensee truly understands the gravity of his actions and that this will not happen again. They noted the financial implications of his dishonesty which are no doubt a monthly reminder to him of his misconduct.


With all of that in mind and whilst it was finely balanced, on balance, Members find that the Licensee is fit and proper to continue to hold the combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence, but they issue a warning in the strongest possible terms to the Licensee that:


  1. He must be honest in the way he conducts himself in relation to his licensing affairs.


  1. If he comes before the Licensing Sub-Committee again, against this background, there is a serious risk of revocation of his licence.


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