Telford MP Lucy Allan welcomes taxi check proposals
Plans to make taxi drivers pass enhanced criminal record checks have been welcomed by Telford's MP.
Lucy Allan said the changes would make a big difference in the town, helping to ensure victims of child sexual exploitation are kept safe.
The Department for Transport has launched a consultation on the new rules, which also considers whether CCTV should be fitted in every cab or private hire vehicle.
Any video recording systems would be encrypted so that footage could only be accessed if a crime was reported.
The government also said it would introduce national minimum standards for drivers and set up a national licensing database.
Ms Allan said: "I am so pleased that the Government is taking action to better protect vulnerable passengers.
“These new measures will make such a difference in Telford where we know that many young girls have fallen victim of child sexual exploitation.
"These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers no matter where the driver is licensed, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab."
Taxis minister Nusrat Ghani said: “While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children.
“These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab.”
The consultation will run until April 22.
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, who has raised concerns over loopholes in licensing after evidence emerged of taxis being used to transport children for sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town, welcomed the introduction of national standards.
“I hope that the Government will look at the example of Rotherham in drawing up new minimum standards,” said Ms Champion.
“Catastrophic mistakes were made in Rotherham, but the council has learned from them and licensing conditions are now amongst the most stringent in the country. This should be taken as a baseline.
“If national standards aren’t robust, we risk a race to the bottom.”
In June last year a judge granted minicab app Uber a short-term operating licence in London after its permit was initially not renewed over safety concerns.
John Worboys became known as the “black cab rapist” after attacking women in his hackney carriage.
He was jailed indefinitely in 2009 after being convicted of 19 offences relating to 12 victims.