Regulatory Minutes

Date:
Wednesday, 15th May, 2013
Time:
7.30 pm
Place:
New Council Chamber, Town Hall, Reigate
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor G.P. Crome (Chairman); Councillors Mrs. L.J. Brunt, J. Durrant, Ms. S. Finch, R. Harper, P. Shillinglaw and Ms. B.J. Thomson
Min NoDescriptionResolution
Part I
34. MINUTES
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meeting held on 4 April 2013 be approved as a correct record and signed.
35 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Councillor B. Truscott (sub: Councillor Ms S. Finch),
Councillor A. Lynch, Councillor D. Pay and Councillor C.T.H. Whinney
36 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
None.
37 ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS
There was no other business.
38 EXEMPT BUSINESS
RESOLVED that members of the Press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that:

(i) they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and
(ii) the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.
Part II(Confidential)
39 APPLICATION FOR A HACKNEY CARRIAGE LICENCE
  • Agenda item: 6 - report
  • |
    Agenda item: 6 - annexes
RESOLVED that the application for a hackney carriage licence (and associated private hire driver licence) be GRANTED as applied for.


Reasons for the decision

1. The Committee had read all the agenda papers and annexes, including the additional character witness statements provided by the applicant and the information disclosed in the DBS Enhanced Certificate circulated at the meeting.

2. The Committee listened carefully to the oral submissions made by the applicant and his wife and the responses to their questions.

3. The Committee had taken note of paragraph 14 of the Council's policy on criminal convictions which related to non-conviction information.

4. The Committee noted that the applicant had been acquitted of the charges against him and also noted the particular circumstances of the case as explained by the applicant.
8.56 pm

Minute

Min NoMinute
39The Committee was requested to determine an application for a hackney carriage driver's licence.

The applicant attended the hearing accompanied by his wife who spoke on his behalf in presenting the application.

The report before the Committee set out the background to the application. Annexed to the report was a copy of the application form and copies of relevant correspondence between the applicant, Surrey Police and the Council. A copy of the DBS disclosure was tabled and collected for destruction at the close of the meeting.

Prior to the hearing the applicant submitted a number of character witness statements which were also circulated to the Committee before the meeting.

The licensing officer introduced the report and set out the background to the application and the reasons for it being brought before the Committee.

In summary, the applicant (ref. 20131505) had held a hackney carriage driver licence since 2006, before which he held a private hire driver's licence for six years.

In January 2012 Surrey Police notified officers that the applicant had been charged with battery and, as a result, the applicant's licence was suspended with immediate effect. A subsequent appeal against the suspension by the licence holder (applicant) to the Magistrate's court was dismissed.

The criminal case against the applicant took place in August 2012. He was acquitted of all charges and the case was dismissed, following which he applied to renew his hackney carriage driver licence as it had expired in the interim period.

A Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) enhanced disclosure was provided and officers noted that it contained references to the alleged offence because the Police deemed this was relevant to the application. In the circumstances, the applicant was advised that the application would have to be determined by the Regulatory Committee.

The applicant contested the content of the CRB disclosure with Surrey Police and subsequently with the Independent Monitor when the police refused to withdraw the comments.

The Independent Monitor upheld the disclosure, however, resulting in the application now being before the Committee after a period of some delay.

The applicant was invited to make submissions in support of his application, during the course of which the following points were noted:

• The criminal case involved a fracas between the applicant and three passengers who left the taxi without paying their fare. The applicant followed them, in an endeavour to find out where they lived so that he could report them to the police, at which point they set upon him and stole his mobile phone.
• The applicant defended himself against them until the intervention of the police who had been called by witnesses to the latter part of the incident. At this point the applicant was arrested without being given an opportunity to give his version of events and charges were subsequently brought against him.
• In hearing the case the Magistrate's Court dismissed all charges and determined that the level of force used by the applicant to defend himself was reasonable.
• Notwithstanding this, the Police referred to the incident in the DBS disclosure on the basis that it was their view that it was relevant to the applicant's application for a hackney carriage licence.
• The applicant contested this and took the matter to the Independent Monitor who upheld the Police's assertion that the information was relevant to the application.

The Committee was invited to put questions to the applicant and the following points were noted:

• Fare dodging was a fairly common occurrence for a taxi-driver, but it usually involved the passenger jumping out at a traffic light or running off at night when the driver could not follow.
• In this case the incident occurred where the cab had pulled up at a dead-end. The passengers were clearly going into a block of flats and it was a spontaneous reaction on the part of the applicant to get out of his cab so that he could see which flat they were heading for and report it to the police.
• The three adult passengers had then set upon the driver, with the two men holding him whilst the other person physically assaulted him. The applicant had only used sufficient force to defend himself in responding to the attack, as was evidenced by his complete acquittal in court.


The Committee adjourned to deliberate at 8.21 pm
and resumed at 8.54 pm