Information obtained through a series of co-ordinated freedom of information requests shows that councils approved 1,584 applications from people with convictions last year, a figure that has taken the industry by shock. The BBC also unveiled that councils received over 1,200 taxi-related complaints in 2014; a rise on the previous year. Bill McIntosh, a representative of the taxi trade, has been criticised for ‘playing down’ the conviction and complaint figures. He said:
"All Scottish licensing authorities are required to ensure that in granting a licence to drive a taxi or a private hire car, the applicant meets with their interpretation of being a fit and proper person. ‘Taking into account that there are approximately 36,500 licensed taxi and private hire car drivers throughout Scotland, and the many millions of journeys undertaken, it could be argued that the number of complaints made were in real terms relatively small."However, he added:
"This is not to suggest that we should be dismissive of the numbers."What types of convictions are they? Although the majority of the convictions uncovered were driving related many were not; with rape, racial abuse and indecent exposure featured on this worrying list complied by the BBC. Why investigate now? This new-found obsession with UK taxi driver’s backgrounds comes after Glasgow taxi driver Arshad Mohammed was found guilty of raping a female passenger. Making us question what sought of people are issued licenses the BBC wanted to take matters into their own hands, highlighting the issues with the application process. Discovering that 1,584 UK taxi drivers boast convictions the BBC has ignited national panic, making us think carefully about the rules and regulations that surround this industry. A spokesperson for Higland Council said there were "no hard and fast rules" in place when granting a licence.
"An applicant with a series of recent convictions, for example, is more likely to be considered not to be a fit and proper person than an applicant with older convictions whose record shows that he or she has not re-offended for a considerable time," it said.What precautions are being made? The police say they are now developing a national IT system that will act as a "single point of reference for licences that had been granted or revoked by the relevant local authority". Let us know what you think, should a driver’s past effect his ability to work as a taxi driver? Leave your comments below. Click here if you're looking for Convicted Driver Taxi Insurance. [convictions]