Public is 'at risk' as local councils hand licences to thousands of PH Minicab drivers from across Britain while failing to check their criminal records
Rapists and other convicted sex offenders have been given licences to operate as Minicab drivers by councils that have failed continuously to check criminal records, it has been claimed.
Some local authorities have also taken hundreds of thousands of pounds in Taxi licensing fees from applicants, knowing they did not have the cab ranks to accommodate them.
An investigation found serious failings at Rossendale, Lancashire, and a legal loophole allegedly exploited by Wolverhampton.
Rapists and other convicted sex offenders have been given minicab licences by councils that have failed to check criminal records, it has been claimed.
British Asian singer, Dhanraj Singh was jailed for nine months after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a young woman in the back of his Minicab .
The chart-topping musician, who was a Minicab driver by day in his hometown of Nottingham, assaulted the intoxicated woman while dropping her home in 2014.
The 24-year-old father-of-two was granted a licence in 2012, but was not licensed by the city council, according to The Times.
He instead applied for a licence from Gedling council, despite not living in the area. According to the Times, Gedling council granted some 492 licences in 2011 and 1,047 in 2015.
The court heard Singh, who went by the stage name San2, kissed and touched her inappropriately, against her will.
The council revoked his licence as soon as it was notified of the offence.
Rossendale licenced over 3,700 Minicab drivers last year, despite having rank space for just 75 vehicles, while in Wolverhampton, dozens of minicab firms across Britain have been licensed as local operators, despite having no employees or vehicles in the city.
The vast majority of the drivers licensed by Rossendale did not live in the borough.
Many lived in northern England and the Midlands, but they applied to Rossendale for licences because the council was seen as a ‘soft touch’, it was claimed.
Northern cities are understood to impose stricter tests and requirements for licences, with some charging higher fees, so drivers flocked to the small Lancashire town.
The investigation by The Times also found that councils issued thousands of licences to drivers, even when it was known some had convictions.
More than 330 alleged sex assaults by minicab drivers suspects were reported to police in 2016-17.
Councils are losing track of drivers’ criminal records or hiring drivers knowing of their criminal pasts, The Times reported.
In the past decade, 131 drivers have been found guilty of sex offences against passengers.
One council in Nottinghamshire issued hundreds of Minicab licences to men outside its area, one of whom later carried out a sex attack on a passenger.
Drivers with Rossendale licences have been convicted of offences in York, Milton Keynes and Manchester, the paper said.
An investigation found serious failings at Rossendale, Lancashire, and a legal loophole allegedly exploited by Wolverhampton (file image)
Assaults by Uber and private hire workers soared nationally 20 per cent in three years, but in London the figure rose by over 50%.
The concerning figures from 23 of England and Wales' 43 police forces show that 337 attacks were reported between April 2016 and March 2017.
Most of the reports were in London, rising from 142 to 156, a freedom of information request found.
After a whistleblower raised concerns, Rossendale’s licensing manager was suspended and left the authority, it was reported. They take the money and while victims lives are shattered, these people are allowed to just walk away.
In a change of policy, staff were told no licences could be renewed unless the applicant presented a recent DBS (disclosure and barring service) certificate.
[But in London, 13,000 Uber drivers have been licensed with fake DBS certificates, which TfL knew about and swept under the carpet under the watch of General Manager Helen Chapman].
There were calls for an independent inquiry into the whistleblower’s allegations last night. But the council said they had been investigated and were unfounded.
It said it was confident that it had not issued any licences ‘to anyone who should not have received one’.
Since 2016, Rossendale has introduced measures to cut the licences it issues. Wolverhampton council said it operated ‘robust and rigorous’ vetting and offered ‘the best taxi licensing system in the UK’.
This claim is highly dubious as recently Winchester Taxi drivers have been complaining that their area has been swamped by drivers obtaining licenses from the more lenient Wolverhampton regulator with the vehicles using cross border hiring regulations to work outside their licensing area.
More In Part Two