Merseyside's Police Commissioner has today welcomed a partnership initiative aimed at tackling taxi licensing breaches.
Working alongside Liverpool City Council and the accredited awarding organisation, ICQ, a number of Merseyside Police Roads Policing officers have been put through a specialist taxi licensing course.
The course gives the officers the opportunity to learn the finer details of local taxi licensing regulations, meaning they are trained in spotting taxis which are not compliant with these rules and regulations and are therefore not fully certified as safe or legal to carry members of the community.
Chief Inspector Tony Jones, Head of Roads Policing explained "Working with our partners in the local authority, we identified the importance of ensuring our officers were fully aware of local taxi licensing regulations. Putting the safety of the community first is key in everything we do and this new training means officers can ensure only licensed and authorised cars and drivers are carrying people around our city.
"If an officer has cause to have dealings with a taxi or private hire vehicle, they know exactly what to spot around taxi safety features, such as vehicle maintenance and tyre compliance.
"We recognise that most of the taxis and private hire vehicles on our streets are compliant with these regulations, but we are continually working to reduce the number of people on our roads who are killed and seriously injured and this is just one step towards making sure the taxis on our roads are safe and road worthy."
The officers were awarded with certificates on completion of the course, by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy and Liverpool City Council's Chair of Licensing Christine Banks.
Merseyside's Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: "While the vast majority of taxis on Merseyside are safe, licensed and authorised, there are a small minority of drivers who flout the rules and, by doing so, are driving vehicles which could pose a danger to the public.
"Merseyside Police has identified this issue and taken proactive steps to ensure its officers are fully equipped to stop and deal with breaches of legislation and, where necessary, take unsafe cars off our roads. This is all part of the continuous work that’s being undertaken to make our roads a safer place for all those who use them. I congratulate the officers on completing the course and thank those involved in this partnership initiative with Liverpool City Council."
Cllr Banks said: "Most taxi drivers deliver a fantastic service but we have a sizeable minority who breach regulations and put passengers at risk. It makes perfect sense for us to work with our partners at Merseyside Police as they share our aim of making sure vehicles and occupants stay safe on the roads.
"We are determined to tackle the drivers who do breach the law and I very much welcome this initiative as a way of tackling taxi licensing breaches. It complements the work we are already doing with our own licensing staff in tackling issues such as cherry picking."