Hundreds caught in taxi enforcement operations

Taxi licensing officials in Liverpool have issued scores of cautions and defect notices to private hire and hackney drivers over the last month in a bid to improve standards and enforce the law.

Operations by council officers and Merseyside Police have identified drivers from Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley and Wirral who were committing a range of offences.

A total of 14 drivers were fined a total of £4,655 at Liverpool Magistrates Court on Thursday 26 October for offences including tyre defects, trying to pick up passengers who had not booked and driving without insurance.

In addition, 118 vehicle defect notices and 57 cautions have been issued for offences such as cherry picking, parking a private hire on a hackney taxi stand, having an illegal tyre and not having their plates firmly fixed on – while a further seven vehicles were ordered off the road immediately.

And 160 fixed penalty notices have been issued to the drivers of private cars who parked illegally on taxi stands, taking up space meant for hackneys.

Two other drivers – one private hire and one hackney – have had their licences revoked for drug related offences.

Councillor Christine Banks, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said: “We want to make sure that our taxi industry is fair, and we are determined to crack down on those drivers who are flouting the rules. Our aim is to make the playing field for all drivers as level as it can be.

“Unfortunately, there are a very small minority who breach regulations, and we are committed to taking action and in doing so, send a clear message out that it is not acceptable.

“Passengers should always ensure they only use properly licensed taxis or pre-book private hire vehicles, otherwise they are placing themselves in danger.”

The prosecutions are part of a series of measures being undertaken by the council and police to crackdown on taxi and private hire drivers breaking the law.

The council works with police officers who have been through a specialist taxi licensing course to help them spot vehicles that aren’t compliant with the law.