June 2, 2022 1.00 pm

Lincoln taxi drivers allowed licences despite convictions

One driver got the green light to keep his… after assaulting his partner

A number of taxi drivers in Lincoln have been allowed to keep their licences in the past year despite numerous speeding offences, and a conviction for assault.

Next Thursday, the City of Lincoln Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee will interview three drivers –  including one who has 15 points on their driving licence and two others who have nine each – to decide if they are ‘fit and proper persons’ to hold a licence to drive a taxi.

In the past year the sub-committee has allowed nine people to have or renew their licences, with two refusals and two licenses being revoked completely.

A licence to drive a taxi is a separate document to a personal licence – though the penalty points on the latter are considered as part of proceedings.

Unlike premises licence meetings for venues such as nightclubs or shops which sell alcohol, taxi driver meetings are held behind closed doors and press and public are excluded from sessions due to fears exempt information could be disclosed.

This means the results of such meetings are not known until after they have taken place, with the identity of drivers remaining hidden.

We looked at the decisions made in the past year to see what happened to some of these drivers:

  • July 29, 2021 – Driver refused a new licence after previously having it revoked. Original revokation was made after the driver received a suspended sentence for three counts of domestic violence – two in the presence of a child. The sub-committee was not satisfied that the applicant was a fit and proper person to hold a licence.
  • September 2, 2021 – Driver allowed a new licence after previously having it revoked, but with bi-monthly DVLA checks and a strongly-worded warning issued. Original revokation was made after driver received 12 penalty points in six months.
  • September 2, 2021 – Driver allowed to re-licence despite 11 penalty points on his licence, but quarterly checks were to be made by the DVLA and a strongly-worded warning issued. The applicant had been found guilty by a court of driving without due care and attention following a road traffic collision with a cyclist – however, disputed the fact. The applicant was later recalled after his employer confirmed witness details nor a report of the accident had been made to them, contrary to the applicant’s claims. On September 29 he had his licence revoked after the sub-committee found that on the balance of probabilities he was being dishonest.
  • October 7, 2021 – Driver had his licence revoked after gaining a total of 12 penalty points – all to do with speeding, with at least one taking place while driving a taxi with no passengers. He had been allowed to keep his driving licence after pleading exceptional hardship to the court. The sub-committee, however, said it was not prepared to depart from policy and risk the public’s safety.
  • October 7, 2021 – Driver allowed to continue holding a licence despite nine penalty points. Three points were due to a speeding offence while a further six were for driving while using a mobile phone. The driver “convinced the sub-committee” that the circumstances around the points did not justify further sanctions.
  • October 28, 2021 – Driver allowed to keep licence despite failing to disclose an offence after the sub-committee suspected an insurance scam. The council report stated the driver had received five penalty points and a fine for driving without due care and attention in October 2018. However, the report said the sub-committee thought the actions of the victim were strange and were too methodical. They noted the licensee “seemed genuine” and was “supported by his manager”.
  • October 28, 2021 – Driver allowed to keep licence despite 11 points on their licence. The points were given in three seperate speeding offences in May 2020 but legal representatives argued they should have been treated as one offence. The sub-committee said it doubted the applicant’s explanation but members did believe he may have been afraid of being robbed when he was followed by police in an unmarked car. They considered the driver “may have been unfortunate to have been convicted of three separate speeding offences instead of one when the offences all took place during a single incident”.

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  • November 24, 2021 – Driver given licence despite being unable to provide a certificate of good conduct from where he was originally from. The council’s licensing officer said the applicant had passed the knowledge test on his first attempt with a score of eight out of 10 and acheived a low risk on the Driver Improvement Programme.
  • December 16, 2021  – Driver allowed licence after disclosing previous offences. The driver declared two offences, though the report did not state what these were. A DBS check showed a clean criminal record. The applicant also showed a certificate of good conduct from Algeria and had no criminal record there. He passed the knowledge test on his first attempt and scored 9 out of 10 and achieved the required pass mark on the Driver Improvement Programme. The sub-committee believed that the applicant was remorseful of his offences and was very polite.
  • December 16, 2021  – Driver allowed to re-licence after 10 points on his licence. The latest three were received in March that year, but the report did not state which offences they were. They had not taken place in a taxi. The driver had completed his BTEC Certificate and undertaken a speed awareness course. The sub-committee believed that the applicant was remorseful, genuine and came across as being embarrassed. They noted the applicant had held their licence for 27 years and never been to sub-committee previously. They “believed that the applicant had had a string of bad luck”.
  • January 27 – Driver refused new Hackney Carriage driver’s licence after failing to disclose penalty points, a “number of complaints made against him” and allegations he had committed offences. His licence had previously been revoked in 2018. The applicant had nine penalty points including three which he had failed to disclose. The licensing officer added “there had been a number of complaints made against him and it was also alleged that he had committed offences”. Despite a full and clean UK driving licence following a DVLA check and despite completing tests on his first attempt the sub-committee “was not satisfied that the applicant was a fit and proper person to hold a licence”. The minutes said he “showed very limited regret in response to the significant volume of complaints, speeding offences, and a relevant criminal conviction which the sub-committee had highlighted to the applicant regarding his previous time as a licence holder”.
  • February 24, 2022 – Driver granted a licence despite being unable to provide a certificate of good conduct. The applicant was originally from Afghanistan. A DBS check showed one conviction, however the applicant had a full UK driving licence with no penalties and had passed all tests, The sub-committee was satisfied he was a fit and proper person
  • April 14, 2022  – Driver’s licence renewed and a warning letter issued despite a failure to disclose a new conviction. A licensing officer said he had failed to disclose a conviction for common assault in October 2020. He had also failed to disclose a previous offence of using threating, abusive, insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear or provocation of violence when he first made his application. The applicant convinced the sub-committee he had misunderstood the term “conditional discharge” as a conviction. The sub-committee was satisfied by the conditional discharge that the offence against his partner was an isolated incident and there had been exceptional circumstances around the coronavirus pandemic.