Every taxi in Rotherham could be fitted with CCTV as part of tougher regulations following the town’s grooming scandal.
Rotherham Council has launched a new four-week consultation on plans to make a series of changes to its Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Policy.
The shake-up comes after the Jay report revealed the ‘prominent role’ of Rotherham taxi drivers in the abuse of children, while the follow-up Casey inquiry said Rotherham Council needed to ‘get their house in order and regulate taxis effectively’ due to the ‘well-publicised link between taxis and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham that has cast a long shadow over the vast majority of law-abiding drivers’.
One of the main ideas is to require CCTV systems to be fitted in all of Rotherham’s 800 taxis.
Other proposals include child sexual exploitation awareness training for drivers, as well as ‘more rigorous standards’ when considering past criminal convictions, especially for sexual offences and violence.
Applicants for licences who have not been resident in the UK will face extra requirements to prove their good character.
Commissioner Mary Ney, who is responsible for licensing for Rotherham Borough Council, said: “At the heart of the new policy lies a commitment to the protection of the public, the safeguarding of children and the vulnerable, and the prevention of crime and disorder. It seeks to set a standard that is among the highest in the country with the intention of both protecting the public and rebuilding confidence in the taxi trade following the Jay and Casey Reports. The policy will make it extremely difficult for disreputable individuals to operate within the Rotherham licensed trade.”