Shropshire taxi drivers to face more rigorous checks

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The top of a private hire taxi cabImage source, Getty Images
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The authority hopes its new policy will help prevent child sexual exploitation

Taxi drivers will face more rigorous checks under a council's proposals to tighten its licensing regulations.

Shropshire Council wants to introduce a new policy, which in some cases will prevent cabbies refused a licence in one area getting one elsewhere.

The authority said it hopes the move, which it says is an "enhancement" of its previous policy, will help prevent child sexual exploitation (CSE).

A CSE prevention organisation said it is "a positive step forward".

The council said the proposals will put private hire operators under more scrutiny than before, with drivers' licensing histories being recorded on a national database set up by government earlier this year.

Any driver who has previously had their licence revoked or refused will be recorded and in some cases prevented from obtaining a licence in the future.

Earlier this year, Prof Rod Thomson, Shropshire Council's director of public health, said the authority was concerned "public safety is being threatened" by drivers who "shop around" for licences.

A council spokeswoman said: "A lot of the safeguarding elements have been in place since 2015. This latest policy is an enhancement of those elements."

Phil Ashford, from the National Working Group (NWG) for tackling child sexual exploitation, said: "We hope that eventually, Shropshire will not be the exception but that policies like this will be the norm for every local authority to better protect the safety of vulnerable groups."

The plans go before the council's cabinet next week.

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