22/12/2023 - Permalink

Keeping you safe this Christmas

Related topics: Public protection

News from Shropshire Council, Telford and Wrekin Council and City of Wolverhampton Council

Shropshire Council’s Licencing Team joined forces with neighbouring local authorities and West Mercia Police last month (24 November 2023) to carry out a check on licenced taxis and private hire vehicles in preparation for the run up to Christmas.

A picture of a taxi

Photo of a taxi

The operation, which included licencing officers from Shropshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council and the City of Wolverhampton Council, together with West Mercia Police colleagues, supported the rigorous licencing processes that each of the local authorities involved have in place to ensure the public’s safety when using taxis and private hire vehicles.

On the day itself, 56 licensed vehicles were checked to ensure the drivers were correctly licensed and that the vehicles were licensed, insured and roadworthy;

38 were licensed by Shropshire Council, 15 by the City of Wolverhampton Council and 3 by Telford & Wrekin Council.

In addition to the checks undertaken by each of the local authorities, there are a number of simple steps that the public can take to enhance their own safety over the Christmas and New Year period:

  • Only use licensed taxis and private hire vehicles
  • Book in advance with a licensed hackney or licensed private hire operator.
    • If you have pre-booked, the driver should have your name and destination
    • Using a private hire vehicle which has not been pre-booked through a licensed private hire operator means that there is no record of your journey, the driver is committing an offence and the vehicle may not be insured
  • Take a photo of the external licence and registration plate of the vehicle.
  • Look for the driver’s badge
  • If you are travelling alone, sit in the backseat, ideally directly behind the driver.
  • Tell someone you trust about your journey and share the details of the vehicle you are travelling in.

Councillor Chris Schofield, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for planning and regulatory services, said:

“The importance of working in partnership with our neighbouring local authorities and the police is fundamental to ensuring the ongoing safety of the travelling public and I extend my thanks to the officers from the local authorities and the police who are committed to supporting this work.  Enforcement operations, such as the one that took place at the end of November, reinforce our commitment to a joint approach to ensure that drivers are properly licensed, and the taxi and private hire trade comply with their licence conditions when operating across our local communities.  The public can, however, help protect themselves too by planning their journeys home in advance and making sure they use a licenced taxi or private hire vehicle.”

Councillor Schofield added:

“Shropshire Council’s licensed drivers and their vehicles must meet a strict set of criteria aimed at ensuring public safety.  All Shropshire Council licensed drivers who were checked were found to be correctly licensed and, whilst the majority were also found to be complying with their vehicle licence conditions, there were some failures to display required signs and one driver whose behaviour towards the officers undertaking the check was held to be unacceptable; these matters were followed up in accordance with the Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 20123 – 2027 and our Better Regulation and Enforcement Policy.”

Deputy Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council and Cabinet member for homes and enforcement, Councillor Richard Overton said:

“Telford & Wrekin Council welcomes continued partnership working with our neighbouring authorities. Public safety and protecting our residents are a top priority and these joint exercises play an important role in ensuring our drivers comply with conditions of licence and that our licensed vehicles are safe and roadworthy.

“We expect drivers licensed by us to follow the law and maintain the highest standards. During the latest operation, just one vehicle failed the checks due to a damaged door sticker and a missing licence plate. Our officers suspended the vehicle until these issues were put right.”

Image of taxi

Image of taxi

Craig Collingswood, City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet member for environment and climate change, said:

“City of Wolverhampton Council licences vehicles across the country and undertakes partnership work with other licensing authorities wherever its drivers work.

“Public safety is the council’s priority every day of the year, but the Christmas period brings its own challenges. With darker nights and celebrations involving alcohol, it’s never more important to ensure you’re getting into a licensed taxi. Our ‘Get Home Safe’ campaign gives you the information to be able to spot a vehicle which has undergone our safety checks.

“The council undertakes tyre checks of all vehicles stopped, to ensure that they are safe and legal. On this occasion with Shropshire Council, we were able to point two drivers’ attention to their tread running low, so they can change their tyres before they are dangerous.

“Now is a great time for all motorists to check that the tread on their tyres is above the legal limit of 1.6mm. Tyres with low tread increase your stopping distance, making you more likely to have a road traffic collision.”