Sex offenders face taxi driving ban

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Rules surrounding sex offenders becoming taxi drivers are set to be tightened after a review.

Preston Council conducted a consultation looking at automatically banning any sex offenders from driving taxis in Preston. It was one of 44 questions asked as part of a public consultation over the city’s taxi trade. The authority has now said legal advice meant there couldn’t be an automatic ban on sex offenders becoming taxi drivers.

However anyone convicted of serious sexual assault will have to go before a tax sub-committee, where councillors will be “minded not to approve” them. Serious offences have been defined as rape, sexual assault, indecent assault, and possession of indecent images of children.

Coun Kathleen Cartwright, who sits on the committee, said rules surrounding sex offenders becoming taxi drivers were already very strict, and an “example to other local authorities in the area.”

She said: “I think the fact they have to come in front of us is a pretty daunting prospect for anyone.

“Certainly, as far as I am concerned, there are certain things we would like to do. But the fact they do have to come in front of us and we do have a strong committee means I have tremendous faith in the process, and I hope the public do too. We go to a lot of trouble to make sure our drivers are safe.”

Applicants will need to be free of convictions for five years, and if they have more than one conviction, should be free for 10 years.