MERSEYSIDE LOCAL authorities have revealed that criminals with convictions for a number of serious offences have applied for licences to drive taxis and private hire vehicles.
The Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) by a local newspaper showed that cab applicants included; four people who had been convicted of rape, ten of manslaughter and 90 for indecent assault, including 18 on girls under the age of 14.
Other convictions undercovered by DBS figures included; eight counts of causing death by dangerous, reckless or careless driving as well as thousands of people with drink-driving convictions.
The DBS statistics show that 9,000 people with previous criminal convictions had applied for a cab licence in the last five years and the Liverpool Echo then sent a further FOI request to all Merseyside councils, asking each borough how many criminals had tried to get a taxi or private hire permit.
All councils, apart from Knowsley, replied, although the level of compliance varied from local authority to local authority.
Sefton Council said a number of drivers had been issued with a cab licence, including applicants with a conviction for sex offences, weapon possession, racially aggravated harassment, drug dealing, drink driving and theft.
Other councils replied to the FOI request but claimed they could not reveal the information required.
A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said:
All drivers undergo an enhanced check through the DBS. However, records of convictions are not retained by the city council and information, as regards to individual licence holders, is considered to be personal data and as such, is exempt from disclosure.
A spokesman for the DBS said: “The protection of children and vulnerable groups is of paramount importance and DBS checks are an important tool for informing employment decisions.”