Policy is “one of the best in the country”

The Hackney Carriage rank at the back of Dewsbury bus station.
The Hackney Carriage rank at the back of Dewsbury bus station.
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New guidelines for granting licences to taxi drivers who have had criminal pasts have been issued.

Kirklees Council has set out clear criteria for assessing whether taxi drivers with criminal records or unsavoury conduct should be deemed fit to drive.

The document states that an applicant will always be refused a licence if they have a record for serious sexual offences such as rape or sexual offences involving children.

An applicant should be free of conviction for at least 10 years for offences such as indecent assault or exploitation before an application is considered. This limit is lowered to three years for indecent exposure or kerb-crawling.

Other serious offences such as murder, manslaughter, terrorism offences will also mean potential drivers will be unable to apply for a licence.

But people with offences such as arson, malicious wounding, robbery and causing death by dangerous driving will be considered after periods ranging from three to 10 years.

Kirklees Council had been using a Home Office dating back to 1992 as guidance, which is now considered out of date.

Coun Steve Hall (Lab, Heckmondwike) is on the licensing and safety committee which passed the guidelines. He said: “This is one of the best policies there is in the country. I’m glad it’s been tightened up.”

But Akooji Badat, from the Kirklees Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Associations, said he had not been consulted on the new guidelines, adding that extra rules were “not necessary”.