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Enhanced DBS Testing to Improve Taxi Safety

Apply for a DBS Check

New regulations to be introduced in Newport, South Wales, aim to greatly improve safety standards for taxi drivers and owners. These will include stricter criminal record checks and licensing requirements, not just for the people who are driving the cabs and picking up passengers, but also for anyone who is in charge of a taxi or private hire business.

Under the updated policy by Newport City Council, all taxi drivers must undergo Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks every six months, providing the results to the licensing authorities. Additionally, taxi firm owners must pass a "fit and proper test" and adhere to Welsh regulations regarding CCTV installation in vehicles. These moves are all designed to increase public confidence in the sector and make travelling by taxi safer for all.


Increasing Burden of Work for Council and Drivers

Newport council's licensing team will increase its annual checks from 500 to 3,000, with an aim of significantly increasing public safety. Annual DBS checks and "fit and proper" assessments will also be mandatory for taxi and private hire vehicle owners. An increased volume of checks will also mean an increased workload for the council’s administration team, and an increased financial burden for the taxi drivers who face repeated criminal records checks every few months. Although taxi drivers are supportive of the ideas behind “cleaning up” the sector and ensuring a more thorough checking of drivers and business owners, concerns have been raised about this increased level of paperwork, form filling and expense, at a time when the cost-of-living crisis means many taxi drivers are feeling the pinch.


DBS Update

One way of cutting the costs and administration associated with repeated DBS checks is to enrol in the DBS Update scheme. Unlike the traditional form of application where the certificate is issued at a certain point in time, DBS Update is a live database. Once enrolled in the Update system, an individual’s records are updated any time new information comes to light about their criminal record or dealings with the Police. That means that their file is always current, and can be checked at any point by simply logging into the system, or sharing a code with an employer to allow them to log in. There is an annual subscription fee to pay, but this is less than paying repeated fees for a new enhanced DBS check, and cuts the time involved considerably too.


Fit and Proper Person Check

Unlike the DBS checks for drivers, the fit and proper person check for business owners is done once, when the person first applies to run a taxi company or similar. These checks are also carried out on people who run a MOT test centre, or who apply for a licence to be a pub landlord. Licensing authorities want to make sure that the people in these positions do not have a lengthy criminal record and are not associated with the criminal world. Judgement is made on a case-by-case basis, with no hard and fast rules barring those with criminal records from taking on these businesses.