Criminal Record Checks in the UK Taxi Industry


The British government has considered making serious changes to the taxi and private car hire industry. The intention is to ensure the safety of both passengers and drivers. The impact on you as a driver should be minimal.

The Department for Transport recently underwent a consultation to discuss the possibility of implementing requirements for taxi drivers to pass intensive security checks. If this measure passes, taxi drivers will have to pass a Disclosure and Barring Service check to operate a taxi as a driver.
This is done in hopes to protect individuals from abusive drivers. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check would also be a requirement for private taxi rentals and black cab licensed drivers.

As a part of this consultation, drivers were consulted on the impact it would have on them. Would these new measures actually be effective in preventing abuse?

DBS Checks

A DBS check was once known as a Criminal Record Bureau check. These checks are typically conducted by employers to ensure potential employees are free of past convictions. Many times, particular offences are taken special note of. These are not pass-fail checks, but rather an insight on someone’s criminal background.

DBS Checks for Drivers

As of right now, there is no requirement for taxi driver to undergo a background check. Fortunately, more and more taxi drivers are already undergoing the process of getting checked to show employers that they have a clean record. In addition to a check, many drivers obtain taxi insurance. This type of taxi insurance works to protect both the taxi business as well as passengers.

Other Considerations

The Department of Transport is also looking into if there should be additional recommendations made to the taxi industry to help ensure safety. One such measure is the implementation of CCTV into cabs and taxis. The footage would always be recorded, but only accessible in the case of a reported crime.

Why are these checks necessary?

The majority of drivers are upstanding citizens, but there are always a few bad apples. These rules would help prevent taxi-related crime from occurring to vulnerable individuals. These attacks are rare but are still in the minds of many passengers. The increased regulation would come with extra costs to an industry that’s already battling with unlicensed drivers from different ridesharing apps.

Ultimately, these checks may not do too much. It is reported that 85% of taxi drivers already undergo some sort of criminal background check. The one change that may make waves is the inclusion of CCTV in cabs. Taxi drivers will be minimally affected by these potential changes. Rest assured though that at A Taxis of Bristol all of our taxi drivers are fully CRB checked before being allowed to drive our vehicles.

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