HC Deb 24 February 1992 vol 204 cc355-6W
Mr. Bendall

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the steps that are taken to ensure the fitness of applicants for black cab licences in London; what action he is considering to tighten the scrutiny procedure; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin

On my behalf, the Public Carriage Office of the Metropolitan police already carries out stringent checks on the suitability of applicants for taxi drivers' licences in London, including a criminal record check. It also carries out further checks on each driver every three years when his or her licence is due to be renewed. It is difficult to know what effective additional checks might reasonably be carried out.

I am satisfied that the present procedures do ensure, as far as possible, that licensed cab drivers are suitable for the task they undertake, although no such system can give a 100 per cent. guarantee.

There is at present no regime for the licensing of minicabs or minicab drivers in London. I have commissioned a working party to make recommendations on the framework needed to ensure that users of taxis and minicabs in London can travel in reasonable safety and security.