What the papers are saying: Mail and Express.
Criminal record checks are BANNED on foreign murderers and rapists who want to be minicab drivers if they have applied for asylum or refugees status
- Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be cab drivers are not checked
- Those from outside the EU must provide reference from their home nation
- But refugees and asylum seekers are exempt and may be serious criminals
Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks, potentially allowing murderers and rapists to get behind the wheel.
Rules laid down by Transport for London (TfL) mean refugees and those applying for asylum do not have to reveal whether they have a criminal history when trying to become a cab driver.
The legal loophole in an official application document on 'private hire driver licensing' says people coming to Britain will not be required to have their criminal convictions checked.
The TfL form states: 'With regards to overseas criminal records checks, no such checks will be made in respect of those applicants who declare that they are in possession of or who have applied for refugee or asylum status.'
Everyone else who applies for a cab licence must undergo criminal records checks. Those from outside the EU who have spent more than three months abroad over the last three years have to provide a 'letter of good conduct' from their home country.
This usually requires their country of origin to give a reference to the Home Office, revealing whether the applicant has a criminal history.
But asylum seekers and refugees are exempt from this too, according to a second document.
A TfL guide on taxi and private hire applications states: 'Any applicant who has been granted or is awaiting a decision to be granted asylum/refugee status will not be required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country he is claiming asylum from.'
Applicants from outside the EU must provide a letter of 'good conduct' from their home country - but asylum seekers do not have to
Rules laid down by Transport for London (TfL) mean refugees and those applying for asylum do not have to reveal whether their criminal history when trying to become a minicab driver.
Campaigners called for a change in the guidelines, calling on all minicab drivers to undergo thorough criminal checks.
What Polititians are saying:
Lawrence Webb, Ukip candidate in Hornchurch and Upminster in Essex, said:
“No one should be issued with a minicab licence unless they have first undergone a criminal records check. If that prevents foreign nationals from driving a cab so be it.”
Tory MP Nick de Bois said:
"They should not be offering licences to those they can't check on.
They could be putting vulnerable members of the public in the hands of thieves, murderers and rapists. It beggars belief."
What TfL are saying:
Helen Chapman, manager of London taxi and private hire at TfL, said:
"All applicants for a Taxi or Private Hire drivers licence are required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check which is carried out by the Home Office.
"Any applicant that has lived in a country other than the UK for more than three months within the last three years is also required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the relevant country.
"We recognise this may not be possible if an applicant is granted asylum or refugee status and, where applicable, these applicants will be required to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct from any other country of residence within the last three years. They will also be required to provide evidence of their Certificate of Registration or a letter from the Border and Immigration Agency."
What Taxi Drivers are saying on Twitter:
Asylum seekers who come straight to the UK, obviously cannot fulfil the requirement. Therefore under these circumstances, murderers, rapists or in extreme cases such as minicab driver Modeste K Hakizimana (wanted for war crimes and his part in a million person genocided in Rwanda) can easily obtain a PHV licensed without their past being checked.
We now need to know what prospective mayoral candidates feel about this important issue.
Taxi leaks is willing to give space to any candidate mayoral or governmental, who wishes to put their feelings to the Licence Taxi trade.
TfL's discrimination against British Nationals:
And yet, as we've previously seen in Claire's case, British nationals, of exemplary character, while waiting for licence renewals, are being refused the right to work and are being refused the right to work for unacceptable periods, because of incompetence in the subcontractors handling DBS checks for TfL.