Published on 1st December 2016

Row of Hackney taxis along the Promenade taxi rank

Every licensed taxi and private hire driver in Cheltenham will receive safeguarding training next year following a Cabinet decision in June.

The training will now be mandatory for all existing and new licensed drivers.

The training will be provided jointly by Gloucestershire Constabulary and the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Board in partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council and will, at first, be free to all licensed drivers.

An initial four sessions will be held in Cheltenham in January and February 2017, with more sessions planned from April to December. The training will also be rolled out across the county next year to ensure that all the licensed drivers in Gloucestershire receive safeguarding training.

The bespoke training will include, amongst other things:

  • good safeguarding practices in the industry
  • raising awareness generally of safeguarding issues in the industry
  • raise awareness of how and when safeguarding issues and concerns can be reported to the right authorities
  • help drivers understand how they can safeguard themselves against, for example,  allegations of improper conduct

Safeguarding training for licensed drivers has become good practice following a number of high profile safeguarding cases elsewhere in the country where elements of the public and private hire trade have been implicated.

Councillor Andy McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, said: “Cheltenham has always upheld the highest possible standards for its licensed drivers. Licensed drivers are, and should always remain, fit and proper people because of the nature of the work they undertake and the contact they have with the public, often with vulnerable people.

“The safeguarding training for all our licensed drivers is an essential tool to remind drivers of their responsibilities toward the public but also a means for them to safeguard themselves because they can be subject to unfounded and malicious allegations.

“The council wants to make it clear that the training is not in response to any specific issues or concerns in Cheltenham, but instead the council recognises that it has become good practice nationally to train drivers.

“There are other licensing sectors that will also benefit from this training and the council will work with its partners to roll the training out to these sectors in time.”

Nigel Hatten detective sergeant for Gloucestershire Constabulary and Jane Price, child sexual exploitation coordinator for Gloucestershire County Council jointly said: “Licenced drivers are the eyes and ears of the county. The safeguarding training in Cheltenham is a planned campaign to be delivered in all areas of the county during 2017 by the Child Sexual Exploitation Team.

“This safeguarding training will look to equip the drivers with the indicators to be aware of, pathways to report concerns and develop proactive Intelligence reporting. The safeguarding training links in with the safeguarding priorities for all agencies who work with children and adults and is a shining example of how proactive multi agency approach is working to safeguard the people of Gloucestershire.”

For Cheltenham Borough Council media enquiries, contact: Laura Carter, communications officer, telephone 01242 264154, email [email protected]