Last updated: 11.01.16

Taxi drivers to take safeguarding awareness course

As part of borough council plans to alter licensing conditions, taxi drivers may have to undertake safeguarding awareness training.

Such regulations come following a number of high profile cases of child sexual exploitation (CSE) involving taxi drivers in locations across the UK.

Earlier this year, all taxi drivers were offered a three-day training course by the council to raise the awareness of CSE. In November, the council?s environment and community panel heard that some 88 per cent of licensed drivers (243 out of 276) took up this offer voluntarily.

?We would like to speak to the other 12 per cent who did not voluntarily attend these workshops,? commented West Norfolk Council?s licensing manager John Gilbraith.

He went on to argue that the borough council?s licensing conditions should be amended so there is a requirement for all existing and new applicants to attend safeguarding training or pass the safeguarding element of the council?s knowledge test.

It was revealed that the panel indeed voted for such proposals to be implemented, meaning that the council will be able to take action against the 12 per cent that have not taken the training course, ensuring all drivers have completed training.

Safeguarding courses will allow taxi drivers to spot signs that vulnerable people may be at risk, so they know how to report these concerns and to whom.

In addition to this, no licenses will be renewed unless the driver has taken the course and anyone applying for a license will have to complete a course.

Cllr Shelagh Gurney, chairman of the Broadland District Council regulatory committee, who also attended one of the courses, said: ?We wanted to take this initiative because we could see its potential to improve the safety of all vulnerable people.

?Licenses are renewed every three years. It could take a while before everyone has had the training but we offered it free to any existing driver who completes it before November 16 to encourage drivers to sign up straight away.?

The Safeguarding Children e-Academy at Virtual College offers a number of online safeguarding training courses, including training on Safeguarding Training in Child Abuse and Neglect and Protecting Children from Child Sexual Exploitation