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Cabbie avoids criminal check.

Byline: Peter Collins

TAXI drivers have expressed concern after a cabbie was given a licence without having to undergo stringent criminal record checks.

The unusual step was taken in private by the Vale of Glamorgan Council's licensing committee. The taxi driver, identified only as "A", works in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Taxi drivers are normally required to undergo Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks every three years.

However, a report on the meeting said committee members decided that A - who has undergone two previous CRB checks - remained a "fit and proper person" to drive a taxi without an up-to-date CRB check.

Licensing officers had previously said they were not satisfied by the application due to "inconsistent information provided by A in relation to addresses". But followings representations by A's representative that "due to personal circumstances A had been in temporary accommodation", the committee accepted that he could be granted a licence. They lifted a suspension on his licence, but issued a warning letter about his future conduct.

At a meeting between the committee and the Vale of Glamorgan Taxi Association, association member Mike Moore said: "It is a matter of concern that there is a taxi driver working in the Vale of Glamorgan without a current CRB check.

"We find this astonishing and unbelievable. We need urgent clarification on who needs a CRB and when they need it. Every other taxi driver has paid pounds 44 for a CRB check.

"I would not be happy to put my wife, son or daughter in a taxi with a driver who did not have a CRB check."

Association chairman Steve Thomas said: "This man - and people don't know who he is - is able to pick up women and children without having a CRB check. It's just abysmal."

He called on the committee to overturn its decision.

And he pointed out the decision followed revelations in our sister paper Wales on Sunday last weekend that police had been called in after Vale Council licensing staff had spotted that radical Islamist Abdul Miah had attempted to obtain a taxi driver's licence using false identification documents.

Licensing committee chairman Councillor John Thomas said a CRB check was not an absolute legal requirement.


* Glamorgan Taxi Association chairman Steve Thomas
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 10, 2012
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