Venue: Meeting Rooms A & B - Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Nicole Tilly
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members of the Licensing and Safety Panel are asked to consider whether they have an interest in any of the matters on the agenda, and if so, to formally declare that interest.
There were no declarations of interest raised in relation to any items on the agenda.
The minutes of the last meeting, held on 14 June 2018, are attached.
That the Minutes of the Licensing and Safety Panel meeting held on 14 June 2018, be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Questions are invited from members of the public present at the meeting on any matters for which this Panel is responsible.
Approximately 30 minutes will be set aside for Public Question Time if required.
There There were no questions raised under this item.
The Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) submitted a report advising Members on operational issues within the Licensing Service.
The report set out updates in respect of the following issues:
· Enforcement Operation
On 5 July 2018 a multi-agency operation took place with the Licensing Service, Police, DVSA and HMRC at Tops Park, Bolton Road West, Ramsbottom, in which 15 licensed vehicles were stopped. Of these vehicles, one was prohibited by the DVSA due to failed indicators and the Licensing Service suspended the vehicle and following discussions with the driver, the plates were removed. Three drivers were warned of their obligations as a driver due to incorrect signage on their vehicle, which have since been presented correctly and a private hire driver was not wearing his private hire driver’s badge, for which he received a warning.
· Common Minimum Standards – Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Trade
On 5 July 2018, the Chair of Licensing and the Licensing Unit Manager attended a meeting at the headquarters of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which was attended by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, to discuss issues Local Authorities are experiencing in respect of common minimum standards in relation to out of town vehicles driving within their Borough. Following this meeting on 11 July 2018, the Licensing Unit Manger attended a meeting of the Greater Manchester Licensing Managers group to further discuss issues and updates will follow.
· Trade Liaison Meeting
Minutes were provided to the members of the Licensing and Safety Panel of the Taxi Trade Liaison meeting on 11 July 2018, which was attended by representatives of the Hackney carriage and Private Hire Trade.
· Multi-Agency Visits – Gambling commission
On 25 June 2018, the Deputy Licensing and Licensing Enforcement Officers took part in joint enforcement visits with the Gambling Commission, in which a betting shop and an adult gambling centre were visited but no issues were found.
· Appeal to Crown Court
The Licensing Service are currently defending an appeal at the Crown Court in respect of a revocation of a hackney carriage driver’s licence, following a decision on 19 October 2017 by the Licensing and safety Panel. The appeal is now listed for a full day on 13 September 2018.
· Review Application
A Licensing Hearings Panel has been scheduled for consideration of the Sir Robert Peel, Sunnybank Road, Bury, following a review application from an interested party.
· Safeguarding Training
The Licensing Service are currently in the process of reviewing the safeguarding training taking into account the common minimum standards and further updates will follow.
· Application Process – Pre-requisites
A review of the pre-requisites required prior to making an application to become a licensed hackney carriage and private hire driver is currently under way.
It was agreed:
That the report be noted.
A report by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) was submitted in respect of the Gambling Act 2005, section 349, which requires the Local Authority to prepare and publish a Statement of Principles at least every three years and the existing Statement was agreed by council on 9 December 2015.
The Statement as presented can be accepted, amended or rejected but to comply with the statute, a revised Statement has to be agreed by Council on 28 November 2018 and be in place by 31 January 2019, in order to fulfil its duties under the Act.
The Statement has been reviewed and updated in light of Gambling Commission guidance and it was recommended that approval be given for a consultation to be undertaken and a further report presented to the Licensing and Safety Panel in due course once the consultation has finished.
It was agreed:
That members approve a consultation to be undertaken.
Any other business, which by reason of special circumstances, the Chair agrees may be considered as a matter of urgency.
There was no urgent business raised under this item.
EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC
To consider passing the appropriate resolution under section 100 (A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business since it involves the likely disclosure of the exempt information stated.
That in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business since it involved the likely disclosure of information relating to individuals who hold Licences granted by the Authority or Applicants for Licences provided by the Authority.
SUSPENSION/REVOCATION OF HACKNEY CARRIAGE/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCES
1. Licence holder 02/2018 attended the meeting and was represented by Mr Khan, Solicitor.
The Chair outlined the procedure to be followed and the Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services), which explained that a complaint had been received regarding the client’s conduct by a young Asian female on 14 May 2018.
The report stated that on 10 May at 5.45 pm the complainant had booked a taxi to take her Bury, to her home in Rochdale and when the taxi arrived, driven by the Licence Holder, she sat in the back seat.
During the course of the journey, it is alleged that the Licence Holder asked personal questions about the girl and her family and on arrival at their destination, although no fare was payable as it had been pre-paid using the App, he turned to face her and told her that in future if she wanted a lift she could ring his private number. The complainant stated that she felt scared and gave the driver her number and he rang her phone so she then had his number.
The complainant had an injury to her knee and was limping and the Licence Holder asked to look at her knee and the swelling and then touched her knee and moved his hand up to her thigh and asked if her pants were tight and if they came down. The complainant left the vehicle and immediately blocked the Licence Holder’s mobile number and told her Uncle, who is a taxi driver, of her experience and he told her to report it to Licensing and she also reported it to the Police and made a statement. However, she did not want any further involvement as she was afraid of reprisal.
The crime write up from the Police was included with the report for information and Mr Khan provided the Licence Holder’s witness statement and character references, which were circulated to Panel members prior to the meeting.
Mr Khan addressed the Panel on behalf of the Licence Holder and explained that on the whole the report was accepted, however, the Licence Holder denied asking if the complainant’s leggings came down and in relation to the impression given by the Licence Holder’s interview with the Licensing Officer, that the Licence Holder did not consider his behaviour to be inappropriate, Mr Khan stated that he did realise his mistake as there should not be any physical contact, however, as no interpreter was present at the interview, he felt that his statement has been misinterpreted by the interviewer.
Mr Khan stated that no criminal proceedings have been taken against the Licence Holder and that the complainant did not perceive the incident to be of a sexual nature and that his touching her knee was intended to be more of a medical examination. The Licence Holder explained that he had been an amateur wrestler in his childhood and was aware of sports injuries and he was trying to ... view the full minutes text for item LSP.116
APPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC/PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCES
The Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Legal and Democratic Services) regarding applications for Private Hire Vehicle Drivers’ Licences.
The Applicants were invited to attend the meeting for separate hearings and invited to address the Panel separately on their applications and any matters referred to in the Officer’s report.
1. Applicant 7/2018 attended the meeting and was accompanied by Mr Patel,
Solicitor. The Chair outlined the procedure to be followed and the Licensing Unit Manager read the report, which was accepted by the Applicant and Mr Patel, which detailed a number of major offences and convictions the Applicant had received since 1995 until 2011, which had resulted in fines, community service and also imprisonment.
The Applicant explained, through Panel questioning, that in 1995 when he was 16 years of age and at College, his father had a stroke and subsequently passed away shortly after. This made the Applicant, as the eldest son, the provider for his Mother and siblings. Unfortunately, this responsibility became too much for the Applicant and he turned to a life of crime, involving drugs and alcohol for which the Applicant was sent to Prison on numerous occasions. During his time in prison and as he got older, the Applicant began to realise that he no longer had the respect of his children, who refused to call him Father, which upset him deeply.
Following his release from Prison in 2011, the Applicant bought a takeaway which was very successful. Towards the end of 2017 the Applicant’s sister was diagnosed with bowel cancer which meant daily visits for treatment to hospital and the Applicant had to sell the takeaway. Unfortunately, the sister passed away and the Applicant became responsible for her children as well as his own. He now works as a delivery driver for the same takeaway but requires a job that allows him flexibility in order to take the children to and
from school and provide for his family. The Applicant no longer drinks or takes drugs. He stated he is a changed man but requires this chance in order to provide fully for his family.
The Panel carefully considered the report and the oral representations by the Applicant and Mr Patel and after taking into account the Council’s Conviction Policy and Guidelines and in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 resolved, on a majority decision, that the application for a Private Hire Driver’s Licence by Applicant 07/2018 be granted for a period of 6 months.
The Panel noted;
· That all of the offences and convictions the Applicant was guilty of were of a very serious nature,
· That the Applicant accepted the severity of these offences and was genuinely remorseful for his past actions when he was younger.
· That the Applicant is now forty years old and a changed person and the last conviction was over 7 years ago.
· That the Applicant had openly provided a full history of convictions to the Licensing Unit and ... view the full minutes text for item LSP.117