Taxi group defends license issuing

tis. The Taxi Rank outside Victoria Shopping Centre. 090204AR2pic.
tis. The Taxi Rank outside Victoria Shopping Centre. 090204AR2pic.

A Harrogate taxi association has reassured people after figures revealed that taxi drivers with criminal convictions are working in the district.

It was revealed that of the 100 new drivers licensed by Harrogate Borough Council in the past two years, 21 had 68 criminal convictions between them.

Richard Fieldman Leader of the Ripon and District Taxi Drivers Group said: “From a trade point of view I am quite confident there isn’t any issue regarding Harrogate Borough Council’s licensing.”

Garry Sadler-Simpson, former chair of Harrogate and District Taxi Association said: “Every driver now has to have an enhanced CRB check.

“These show everything, even a caution from shouting in the street, everything you have ever done has to be disclosed.”

Mr Fieldman agrees.

He said: “Taxi drivers must go thorough very rigorous CRB checks.

“There are not a lot of jobs out there that need a CRB check like this.

Mr Fieldman added: “It shows up everything on everyone going back to juvenile times.”

Around one fifth of those given a new license in the past two years had criminal convictions including one conviction for possession of a firearm; two for possessing other offensive weapons; seven for assault, including two causing actual bodily harm and two on police officers; one for supplying drugs and four for possession.

In addition more than a quarter of those licensed in the district had committed motoring offences including 23 convictions for speeding, six for driving without due care and attention and three for drink driving.

A spokesperson for Harrogate District Council said: “We look at the entire criminal history of all applicants regardless of whether they are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

“This is done by requesting an enhanced CRB disclosure. This means that most of the offences listed will be very historical.

“It is not unusual to see offences dating back to the 60s and 70s when the applicants were much younger.”