Agenda and minutes

Licensing Sub-Committee
Wednesday 19th October, 2016 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Wallfields, Hertford. View directions

Contact: Peter Mannings  Tel: (01279) 502174 Email:  peter.mannings@eastherts.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

20.

Appointment of Chairman

Minutes:

It was proposed by Councillor B Deering and seconded by Councillor N Symonds that Councillor P Ballam be appointed Chairman of the Licensing Sub-Committee for the meeting.

 

RESOLVED – that Councillor P Ballam be appointed Chairman of the Licensing Sub-Committee for the meeting.

21.

Minutes – 30 September 2016 pdf icon PDF 43 KB

To approve the Minutes of Previous Sub-Committee meeting:

 

30 September 2016.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 30 September 2016 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

22.

Exclusion of press and public

To move that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting during discussion of items 8 and 9 on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act of the following description:

 

1.  “ Information relating to an individual”.

Minutes:

The Sub-Committee passed a resolution pursuant to Section 100(A) (4) of the Local Government Act 1972 as amended, to exclude the press and public during consideration of the business referred to in Minutes 23 and 24 on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act.

23.

Application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence - Applicant with a caution and other relevant non-conviction information – Application 16 / 1441

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman outlined the procedure to be followed.  All those present were introduced.  The applicant agreed that Councillors R Brunton, Mrs R Cheswright and P Ruffles could remain in the room as observers.  The applicant also agreed that two Officers from Legal and Democratic Services could remain in the meeting.

 

The Senior Specialist Licensing Officer summarised why the matter had been reported to the Licensing Sub-Committee.  He stated that it was for the Sub-Committee to decide whether the applicant was a “fit and proper” person to hold a Private Hire Drivers Licence.

 

The applicant explained the background in relation to the caution he had received and commented that the person he was with at the time had committed the offence.  He stated that he had failed to admit to the caution when he was applying to renew his taxi licence with another Council on the advice of a friend who had helped him with the application process.  The Magistrates Court had subsequently upheld a decision to refuse the renewal of his licence. 

 

In response to a query from Councillor N Symonds, he confirmed that he was still reading the East Herts Taxi Licensing Policy on the Council’s website.  Councillor B Deering referred to the Sub-Committee’s task in terms of considering the suitability of the applicant as a “fit and proper” person in the context of the safety of the public and the incident for which he had been cautioned.  The applicant conceded that from a safety viewpoint, he would not allow his family to travel with such a taxi driver knowing the background of the incident. 

 

At the conclusion of the representations, the Sub-Committee withdrew with the Legal Adviser and Democratic Services Officer to consider the evidence.

 

Following this, they returned and the Chairman announced that the Sub-Committee had listened carefully to the evidence detailed in the report and the oral submissions provided by the applicant.  The Sub-Committee was of the view that the applicant had not demonstrated that he was a “fit and proper” person in the light of the incident for which he had received a caution and then failed to mention on a subsequent application with another Council.

 

After considering the evidence put forward, the Sub-Committee was unanimous in agreement that the application for a taxi drivers’ licence be refused for the reasons now detailed.

 

The Legal Adviser explained that he had not taken any part in the decision making process and was there to advise Members on points of law and what they could and could not do within the law.  The applicant was advised of his right to appeal to the magistrates’ court within 21 days.

 

RESOLVED – that the application for a taxi drivers’ licence be refused for the reasons now detailed.

 

Reasons:

 

1.        Given his caution for theft after a shoplifting incident in August 2014, the Sub-Committee considered that such behaviour was not consistent with someone who was a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

 

2.        The Sub-Committee, having posed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Private Hire Drivers' Licence – Consideration as to the fitness and propriety of an existing licensed driver

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman outlined the procedure to be followed.  All those present were introduced.  The applicant agreed that Councillors R Brunton, Mrs R Cheswright and P Ruffles could remain in the room as observers.  The applicant also agreed that two Officers from Legal and Democratic Services could remain in the meeting.

 

The Senior Specialist Licensing Officer summarised why the matter had been reported to the Licensing Sub-Committee.  He stated that it was for the Sub-Committee to decide whether the applicant was a “fit and proper” person to hold a Private Hire Drivers Licence. 

 

The applicant explained the background to the incident.  The Senior Specialist Licensing Officer advised Members that the Police had provided the Licensing Authority with the body worn camera interview with the passenger, which had been redacted to protect the passenger’s identity and to observe Data Protection rights. 

 

Given the difficulty in following the redacted version of the interview, the meeting was adjourned for 15 minutes so that the Senior Specialist Licensing Officer could make arrangements for Members of the Sub-Committee to separately view the un-redacted interview. At 3.20 pm the meeting reconvened.

 

In response to a query from Councillor N Symonds, the applicant explained that all drivers did not have to undertake some form of “knowledge” test.  The Senior Specialist Licensing Officer explained changes to the policy which required taxi drivers to undertake some form of “knowledge” test which London Hackney Cab drivers had to pass.

 

The applicant commented that what the passenger said was wrong and that he was married and a Muslim.  He commented that he routinely encountered inappropriate behaviour from customers.  He accepted that he had taken money from the passenger’s purse and that it had been wrong to do so.  The applicant referred to the fact that he had worked for the company for two and a half years and there had been no complaints about him.  He denied that anything inappropriate had occurred.  In response to a query regarding why he had stopped his car, the applicant explained the problems with the directions he had been given, the issues with local road arrangements and the model of the car he had been driving.

 

The Senior Specialist Licensing Manager provided Members with a booking sheet which highlighted where the passenger was being dropped off and the house number. 

 

At the conclusion of the representations, the Sub-Committee withdrew with the Legal Adviser and Democratic Services Officer to consider the evidence.

 

Following this they returned and the Chairman announced that the Sub-Committee had listened carefully to all the evidence detailed in the report and the comments received from the applicant.  Having posed the question of whether the applicant was a “fit and proper person” to hold such a licence, the Sub-Committee, after considering the evidence put forward, unanimously agreed that the Private Hire Drivers Licence be revoked. 

 

The Sub-Committee commented that on the balance of probabilities, they favoured the passenger’s account of events rather than the applicant’s and felt that such inappropriate behaviour was totally unacceptable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.