The Assistant Director of Community Protection submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 37/12, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.
The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The applicant, who was in attendance at the meeting accompanied by his wife and legal representative, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.
The Senior Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case in relation to a complaint submitted by a member of the public on 21 March 2012 relating to an incident on 4 March 2012. Full details of the complaint were contained within the report. It was noted that following the initial complaint, (copy attached at Appendix 1), officers had difficulty in obtaining further information from the complainant, however, a witness statement was obtained from another passenger in the vehicle at the time of the incident, a copy of which was attached at Appendix 2. The driver was subsequently interviewed by a Licensing Officer on 10 August 2012 and a copy of the interview note was attached at Appendix 3.
The Senior Licensing Officer highlighted that it would not be usual to bring a matter to the Committees attention where a complainant had not provided any additional details of the incident in statement form, however, due to some information provided by the driver during interview, officers were concerned regarding the drivers ability to understand and interact with his passengers. Officers, therefore, believed it to be a matter for the Licensing Committee to consider.
The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 5 September 2012 when he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and confirmed his previous explanation in relation to the incident.
It was highlighted that the driver was initially applied for a Private Hire Vehicle driver licence in May 2010, however the licence was not granted until June 2011 as the driver failed the knowledge test on numerous occasions. The driver succeeded in passing the entire driver test on the twelfth occasion.
The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.
The drivers legal representative sought clarification that the matters under consideration were the issues of dangerous driving and passenger fares. The Senior Licensing Officer confirmed that this was correct.
The drivers legal representative presented the case in support of the driver and the driver responded to questions from Members of the Committee. The driver provided copies of two character references for information.
It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the driver, his wife and legal representative and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Councils Legal Services and Members Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.
Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committees decision.
ORDERED that Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 37/12, be retained but that the driver be given a warning regarding his future conduct, particularly in relation to ensuring the correct fares for passengers.
** DECLARATION OF INTEREST
At this point in the meeting, Councillor Loughborough declared a non-pecuniary interests in relation to the next agenda item as the drivers representative was known to him. He withdrew from the meeting and, therefore, took no part in the discussion or determination of the case.