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Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests or other registrable and non-registrable interests in items on the agenda.
There were no Declarations of Interest.
The procedure for the conduct of the meeting was noted.
Exclusion of Press and Public
OFFICERS' RECOMMENDATION that -
the press and public be excluded from the meeting during discussion of the following report under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that the report(s) in question would be likely to involve disclosure of exempt information of the description specified in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
By resolution of the Committee, for the reasons set out in the agenda, the press and public were excluded from the remainder of the meeting during the consideration of the remaining matters under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that the discussion would be likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as set out in Schedule 12a to part 1 of the Act.
Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence
To consider a report which under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 would be likely to involve disclosure of exempt information of the description specified in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
The Committee considered an exempt report under paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 7 of Part1 of Schedule 12a of the Local Government Act 1972.
The Vice-Chairman in the Chair for this meeting introduced those present to the Hackney Carriage Driver (‘X’) and ensured that they were comfortable with the procedure to be followed for the conduct of business.
The driver was assured that no time limits would be placed on any parties present in order to give everyone a full opportunity to present their case, ask and address any questions arising.
The driver confirmed they had read and received the papers for the meeting and had chosen not to be represented or accompanied by another person.
The Senior Licensing Officer was asked to provide a presentation of the papers under discussion.
The facts of the case were outlined, the Committee having confirmed prior receipt of the agenda papers, in accordance with the statutory requirements.
The Senior Licensing Officer referred to an alleged incident with a passenger in March 2023. The matter had been raised by the passenger’s family with Surrey County Council and Surrey Police. Surrey County Council had suspended Driver ‘X’ from school runs and carried out an investigation. The Driver provided a short statement taken by the Operator for whom they worked.
The conclusion was that the allegation made by the passenger was unsubstantiated and there was insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove it. The driver remained suspended from school runs.
Surrey Police had carried out an in depth investigation and had concluded that the evidence available did not meet the evidential threshold for referral to the Crown Prosecution Service, no charges were made and the case was closed.
When advised of the case, the Senior Licensing Officer also conducted an interview under caution. Driver ‘X’s account provided in June was very similar to that which was taken by the Police in March. When questioned, Driver ‘X’ disputed the statement provided by the Operator.
Driver ‘X’ had been co-operative throughout the process.
The Committee’s attention was drawn to the legislative framework and relevant guidance in order to consider whether Driver X was a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence in Runnymede.
Driver ‘X’ was invited to give their version of events which was duly noted. Driver ‘X’ confirmed that the passenger normally sat in the back seat but had recently taken to sitting in the front which was when their disruptive behaviour had caused a problem, such that on several occasions the driver had to ask the passenger not to create a risk to the safety of all the occupants of the vehicle. The passenger had also made physical contact with the driver’s head which was causing a distraction.
Driver ‘X’ was asked specifically if they had read the Operator’s statement before signing it. The driver stated that English was not their first language and whilst they could read English they did not always understand what the words meant. The driver was ... view the full minutes text for item 10.