A report by the Assistant Director (Localities) is attached.
1. It was requested that the hearing for Licence Holder 32/2017 be adjourned until the next meeting, which was agreed by the members of the Licensing and Safety Panel.
2. Licence Holder 33/2017 did not attend the meeting and it was reported by the Licensing Unit Manager that several attempts to contact the Licence Holder had been made via email, telephone, and letter. Two officers of the Licensing Service had been to the Licence Holder’s address on that afternoon and it was apparent that no one was currently in the property and there was an apparent backlog of post behind the front door. The Father of the Licence Holder, also a Licence Holder in Bury, is known at present to be in Pakistan and it is unknown if the Licence Holder has gone with him. After further investigations with local private hire operators, it was concluded that this Licence Holder is not currently driving for any operator in Bury.
Following an in-depth discussion with the members of the Licensing and Safety Panel, it was decided, on a majority decision, to hear the case for Licence Holder 33/2017 in absence. Although it was agreed that the Licence Holder was not present to defend himself, the Panel considered the complaint serious enough to hear in his absence and there had been sufficient attempts to make him aware of the meeting and requirement to attend.
The Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Localities), which explained that on 12 December 2017 the Licensing Service received a complaint from a concerned
Parent, that Licence Holder had been contacting her daughter excessively, without permission and using inappropriate language.
The complainant’s daughter, who is over 18, had been out in Rochdale and used her mobile phone to contact the Licence Holder’s operator in the early hours of Saturday 9 December 2017, to book a private hire taxi. The complainant’s daughter had received an initial text from a mobile number advising her that her taxi was waiting outside.
Subsequently, between 09.37am and 12.30pm later the same day, her mobile received 7 phone calls and 5 text messages, 14 audio calls and 20 messages through the WhatsApp messaging service, with one stating ‘Ur hot u’. Through Whatsapp, the complainant’s daughter was able to view the profile of the sender and she identified him as being the taxi driver who had taken her from Rochdale earlier that day and the mobile number was the Licence Holder’s, the same number she had been notified of the arrival of her taxi in the early hours.
A witness statement and screen shots of the phone activity were attached to the report for the Panel’s consideration.
The Panel carefully considered the report in respect of Licence Holder 33/2017 and taking into account the Council’s Conviction Policy and Guidelines and in accordance with the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, resolved, unanimously, to revoke the driver’s licence.
The Panel noted the following:
1. The Licence Holder had sought to engage with the customer in an unprofessional and inappropriate conversation, evidence of which was provided to the Panel.
2. The Licence Holder had deliberately breached the customer’s privacy by contacting her, other than in a professional capacity.
3. The contact with the customer after completing the journey was unauthorised and unprofessional and was aggravated by the inappropriate content of the messages and large number of attempts to make contact using various methods.
4. The contact via the customer’s mobile phone was such that the customer’s mother was distressed and sufficiently concerned as to the conduct of the Licence Holder that she made a formal complaint.
5. The Licence Holder’s conduct had left the customer feeling unsafe and wary of using a taxi service in Bury in future.
6. The Licence holder was not a fit and proper person and had breached the conditions and expected conduct of a licensed driver.
The Licence Holder would be informed in writing of the Panel’s decision and would be reminded of their right to appeal to the Magistrates’ Court within 21 days.
3. Licence holder 34/2017 attended the meeting and was unaccompanied.
The Chair outlined the procedure to be followed and the Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Assistant Director (Localities), which was accepted by the Licence Holder.
The report explained that the Licence Holder was granted a private hire driver’s licence with Bury Council on 23 March 2016. On 1 February 2018, the Licensing Service became aware that the licence holder had failed to disclose motoring convictions, following a check of the Licence Holder’s DVLA issued driving licence.
The Panel noted that the Licence Holder had a conviction SP30, speeding on a public road on 31 March 2016, for which his licence was endorsed with 3 penalty points; speeding on a motorway on 30 April, 2016 for which his licence was endorsed with 3 penalty points and two offences of using a vehicle with defective tyres on 25 February 2017, for which his licence was endorsed with 3 penalty points and he was fined £293.
The Licence Holder addressed the Panel and explained that he did not realise he had to disclose these offences, as he did not think they were major incidents. He explained he did not realise the speed limits on the roads in question and the defective tyres were on a vehicle he had used belonging to the operator he worked for. He now realises the error of his ways and that any conviction should be declared.
The Licence Holder went on to explain that he was the sole provider of his family and he could not afford to lose his licence as he would not be able to financially support them. He reported that he has now moved to another operator and is much happier there.
Various questions and concerns were raised with the Licence Holder from the Licensing and Safety Panel members.
The Panel carefully considered the report and the oral representations provided by the licence holder 34/2017 and 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, to suspend the driver’s licence for a period of three months.
The Panel noted the following:
1. That the Licence Holder had only been issued his licence on 23 March 2016 and the first offence of speeding was committed on 31 March 2016 with the second offence of speeding only one month later.
2. The Licence Holder did not appreciate the seriousness of the offences or the danger, specifically in relation to defective tyres.
3. The Licence Holder had not disclosed, during the application process, any of the offences or convictions and the fact that he had 9 penalty points on his licence.
4. The Licence Holder did not appear to accept he was responsible for ensuring the roadworthiness of vehicles he drives.
5. The Licence Holder provided no reasonable explanation for the convictions or for not disclosing them, as the Panel were satisfied that the requirement to do so was very clear on the application forms.
The Licence Holder was informed of their right to appeal to the Magistrates’ court within 21 days.