Rosalyn Morris, Licensing and Enforcement Officer, briefly summarised the report.
Councillor Wilson referred to the offence of a driver being in possession of illegal drugs while in charge of a licensed vehicle or evidence of drugs or alcohol in the vehicle. He said that this would be a criminal offence and asked to what standard of proof the Licensing Authority would judge this and whether this would interfere with the work of the Police.
The Licensing and Enforcement Service Manager said that allegations would be decided on the balance of probabilities. Police intelligence could still be considered valid evidence, even if the Police took no further action, as they worked to a higher standard of proof.
Councillor Wilson said that points for the late application for the renewal of a license seemed out of step with the other offences, as this is not something that would put the public at risk.
The Licensing and Enforcement Officer said that this was to encourage drivers to return renewal applications on time and saved Officers spending time chasing applications.
The Service Manager said that each case would be judged on its own merits and there was an appeals process, which meant circumstances such as illness or bereavement would be given due consideration.
Councillor Jones asked about the Licensing Authority’s points scheme and how this compared to other local authorities’ schemes.
The Service Manager said that practises varied, although the Department for Transport (DfT) recommended using a points system, and Stevenage Borough Council were currently reviewing the Council’s scheme with a view to potentially implementing it themselves.
It was moved by the Councillor Crofton and seconded by the Councillor Snowdon that the recommendations, as detailed, be approved. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that (A) the report be considered and received; and
(B) Officers be instructed to carry out an 8 week public consultation regarding the proposed changes.