A stronger Taxi Licensing Policy has been agreed by Pendle Council’s Executive to ensure that the borough’s vulnerable children and adults are protected.
All taxi drivers and operators must now undertake training to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation.
They must also register with the Disclosure and Data Barring Service to allow Pendle Council to check online for any convictions since their licence was granted.
Only drivers can apply to enable this service which costs £13 per year.
Executive councillors voted for these policy changes at its latest meeting to minimise the risk of child sexual exploitation in Pendle and to safeguard anyone using a taxi, as well as the drivers themselves.
Pendle Council says it has been proactive in making sure its staff and councillors are trained to understand and deal with child sexual exploitation and safeguarding issues.
Coun. David Clegg, Chairman of the Taxi Licensing Committee, said: “Child sexual exploitation and safeguarding are very important issues for councils up and down the country.
“As well as ensuring that our taxi drivers are fit and proper through DBS checks, there’s also a wider role that drivers can play in preventing and identifying CSE or safeguarding issues.
“Understanding what they may encounter while working is essential to having a responsible taxi trade which operates for and on behalf of their community.
“Currently we have 460 drivers with licenses in Pendle – that means we have a lot of eyes and ears across the borough to spot things which may need to be reported.”
Free safeguarding training courses will be held at Nelson and Colne College and Pendle Council will ensure all new and existing drivers will have received training by the end of the year.
Those who haven’t attended by the time their license expires will have their license reviewed.
As part of the Executive’s agreed changes, all of the council’s taxi licensing policies have been put together in a single document.