UBER and black cab drivers will have to go through criminal background checks every six months under strict new rules being implemented by the government.
Tough new licensing measures are being introduced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to improve passenger safety.
The new Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards will be implemented by local councils and will apply to taxi, minicab and app-based drivers.
Ministers have imposed the tougher searches after “following historic serious cases of taxi and Private Hire Vehicles drivers abusing their position of trust.”
The tough measures come into force after grooming gangs used minicabs to ferry around their victims or being part of the abuse.
As well as the new six month background checks, drivers will have to undergo safeguarding training to help drivers identify and respond to passengers that may be being abused or exploited.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We know the majority of drivers provide an important and safe service for communities, but in light of appalling incidents in places like Rochdale, Oxford, Newcastle and Rotherham, more must be done to protect passengers from those who abuse their position of trust.
“That’s why we’re looking to licensing authorities to enforce these rigorous new standards – ensuring drivers are fit to transport passengers in a safe environment and to stop those who aren’t.
“We expect all licensing authorities to implement the standards and won’t hesitate to introduce legislation if they don’t fulfil their responsibilities to keep the public safe.”
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