Guidance relating to the Relevance of Convictions

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1 Guidance relating to the Relevance of Convictions Applications for the grant or renewal of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licences Consideration of the suspension or revocation of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licences

2 APPLICATIONS FOR THE GRANT OR RENEWAL OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVERS LICENCES CONSIDERATION OF THE SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVERS LICENCES GUIDELINES RELATING TO THE RELEVANCE OF CONVICTIONS 1. Each case will be decided on its own merits 2. A person with a current conviction for serious crime need not be permanently barred from obtaining a licence but should be expected to remain free of conviction for three to five years, according to the circumstances, before an application is entertained. A similar period free from conviction will be expected in the case of existing hackney carriage/private hire drivers who are convicted of serious offences during the currency of their licence and whose licence may be revoked or suspended as a result. In either case, some discretion may be appropriate if the offence is isolated and there are mitigating circumstances. However, the overriding consideration should be the protection of the public. Where Members are of the opinion that the interests of public safety requires such a course of action, a hackney carriage or private hire driver s licence may be suspended or revoked with immediate effect. 3. The following examples will be adopted as a general guide on the action to be taken where convictions are admitted:-

3 (a) Minor Traffic Offences Minor traffic offences will be taken to include:- Obstruction Waiting in a restricted street Speeding Construction and use offences (defective tyres etc) Driving without a licence Pedestrian crossing offences Provisional licence offences (no L-plates etc.) Traffic directions and signs offences Driving while disqualified as under age Miscellaneous offences attracting a maximum of 4 penalty points for a single offence Convictions for minor traffic offences should not prevent a person from proceeding with an application nor prompt suspension or revocation of an existing licence. If sufficient points have been accrued to require a period of disqualification of the applicant s driving licence then a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle (PHV) driver s licence may be granted after a period of 3 months without further endorsement has elapsed following its restoration to enable the driver to re-acquire proper driving skills, but a warning should be issued as to future conduct. Where an existing hackney carriage/phv driver is disqualified from driving, their hackney carriage/phv driver s licence should be suspended for the duration of the disqualification and for a period of three months thereafter. A warning as to future conduct should be issued upon restoration of the driver s licence. (b) Major Traffic Offences Major traffic offences will be taken to include:-

4 Reckless driving offences Careless driving offences Driving or attempting to drive while disqualified by the Court Offences in relation to accidents (failure to stop/report etc.) (Offences relating to driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs, no insurance and theft/unauthorised taking of vehicles are dealt with separately.) An isolated conviction for a major traffic offence will normally merit a warning as to future conduct and advice on the standard expected of hackney carriage and PHV drivers, although where the circumstances are particularly serious, refusal of an application (or revocation/suspension of an existing licence) may be warranted for a single conviction. More than one conviction for this type of offence within the last two years should merit refusal of a new application or revocation of an existing licence and no further application should be considered until a period of one to three years free from conviction has elapsed, depending on the number and seriousness of the convictions. (c) No Insurance Where an applicant has a conviction for using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks, this will normally merit refusal until a period of six months free from convictions has elapsed. The licences of existing drivers should be suspended for the same period. (d) Drunkenness (i) With motor vehicle A serious view should be taken of convictions for driving or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drink. Where an

5 applicant has a single conviction for a drink driving offence, at least 12 months should elapse (after the restoration of his/her driving licence) before he/she is considered for a licence. However, where an applicant has a single conviction for a drink driving offence and has successfully completed a Drink/Drive Rehabilitation Course reducing the disqualification period, consideration may be given to the application after a 9 month period following the restoration of his/her driving licence. The licence of an existing hackney carriage/phv driver should be revoked upon conviction for a drink driving offence, with the above provisions applying to any re-application. At least three years should elapse (after the restoration of the driving licence) before an applicant is considered for a licence where there has been more than one such conviction. If there is any suggestion that the applicant is an alcoholic, a special medical examination should be arranged before the application is entertained. If the applicant is found to be an alcoholic a period of 5 years should elapse after treatment is complete before a further licence application is considered. (ii) Not in Motor Vehicle An isolated conviction for drunkenness need not debar an applicant from gaining a licence nor warrant the revocation/suspension of an existing licence. However, a number of convictions for drunkenness could indicate a medical problem necessitating medical examination (see (d)(i) above). In some cases, a warning may be sufficient.

6 (e) Drugs An applicant with a conviction for a drug related offence should be required to show a period of at least three years free of convictions before an application is entertained, or five years after detoxification treatment if he/she was an addict. Existing hackney carriage/phv drivers convicted of a drug-related offence should have their licence revoked. (f) Indecency Offences As hackney carriage and PHV drivers often carry unaccompanied passengers, applicants with convictions for indecent exposure, indecent assault, importuning or any of the more serious sexual offences should be refused until they can show a substantial period (at least three to five years) free of such offences. More than one conviction of this kind should preclude consideration for at least five years. In either case, if a licence is granted, a strict warning as to future conduct should be issued. Existing hackney carriage/phv drivers convicted of an offence involving indecency should have their licence revoked. (g) Violence As hackney carriage and PHV drivers maintain close contact with the public, a firm line should be taken with applicants who have convictions for grievous bodily harm, wounding or assault. At least three to five years free of such convictions should be shown before an application is entertained and even than a strict warning should be administered. Existing hackney carriage/phv drivers convicted of an offence involving violence should have their licence revoked.

7 (h) Dishonesty Hackney carriage and PHV drivers are expected to be persons of trust. The widespread practice of delivering unaccompanied property is indicative of the trust that business people place in drivers. Moreover, it is comparatively easy for a dishonest driver to defraud the public by demanding more than the legal fare etc. Overseas visitors can be confused by the change in currency and be fair game for an unscrupulous driver and drivers of hackney carriages and PHV s will often be aware of the circumstances where houses are left empty by passengers departing for holidays. For these reasons, a serious view should be taken of any conviction involving dishonesty. In general, a period of three to five years free of conviction should be required before entertaining an application. Existing hackney carriage/phv drivers convicted of an offence involving dishonesty should have their licence revoked. (i) Public Order Offences An applicant with a conviction for a public order offence or an offence of criminal damage should be required to show a period of six months to three years free of conviction before an application is entertained. Existing hackney carriage/phv drivers convicted of such an offence should have their licence suspended for six or more months or revoked, depending on the severity of the offence. (j) Offences under the Licensing Legislation (i) Unlicensed Plying for Hire An applicant with a conviction under Section 45 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 (unlicensed plying for hire) should be required to show a period of twelve months free of conviction before an application is entertained.

8 Existing hackney carriage/phv drivers convicted of the same offence should have their licence suspended for a period of twelve months. Where the circumstances are considered particularly serious (for example, where there are a number of other offences) a longer period of suspension may be appropriate. Repeated offences of this type should result in the revocation or non-renewal of the driver s licence and no further application should be entertained until a period of twelve months free from further convictions has elapsed. (ii) Other Licensing Offences An applicant with a conviction for an offence under any other provision of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 or under Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 should be required to show a period of six to twelve months free of conviction before an application is entertained, depending upon the severity of the offence. Existing hackney carriage/phv drivers convicted of such an offence should have their licence suspended for a period of three months. Where there is more than one conviction a longer period of suspension or the revocation/nonrenewal of the licence may be warranted.

9 REHABILITATION OF OFFENDERS ACT 1974 The purpose of these notes is to advise applicants of the provisions of the above Act. Legal provisions exist whereby certain criminal convictions can become spent after a certain period of time. By virtue of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) Order 2002, applicants for hackney carriage and private hire driver s licences are obliged to disclose any offence, even if those convictions are categorised as spent. Generally, where, during a rehabilitation period applicable to a conviction, a person commits a further offence, neither offence can be regarded as spent until both rehabilitation periods have elapsed. With regard to endorsements for traffic offences: (a) Endorsements are effective for 4 years from the date of conviction if the driver is also disqualified. (b) They are effective for 4 years from the date of offence if the driver is not disqualified, except that: (i) Endorsements are effective for 4 years from the date of conviction if the offence is one of reckless driving or causing death by reckless driving, and; (ii) Endorsements are effective for 11 years from the date of conviction for offences for driving under the influence of drink/drugs, driving with alcohol above the prescribed limit and failing to provide a specimen.

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