Agenda and draft minutes

Public Safety and Protection Sub-Committee A - Tuesday, 16th February, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote Access - Via On Line or Telephone Conference Call. View directions

Contact: Oliver Harrison 

Link: Watch Live Webcast

Items
No. Item

30.

Welcome and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and drew attention to the Meeting procedure.

 

31.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

No apologies received.

 

32.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None received.

 

33.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 205 KB

To confirm as a correct record for signing by the Chair.

Minutes:

Resolved – that the Minutes of the previous PSP Sub A Meeting held on 15th December 2020 be agreed as a correct record.

 

34.

Public Forum

Up to 10 minutes is allowed for this item

 

Any member of the public or Councillor may participate in Public Forum.  The detailed arrangements for so doing are set out in the Public Information Sheet at the back of this agenda.  Public Forum items should be emailed to democratic.services@bristol.gov.uk and please note that the following deadlines will apply in relation to this meeting:-

 

Questions - Written questions must be received 3 clear working days prior to the meeting.  For this meeting, this means that your question(s) must be received in this office at the latest by 5 pm on Wednesday 10 February.

 

Petitions and Statements - Petitions and statements must be received on the working day prior to the meeting.  For this meeting this means that your submission must be received in this office at the latest by 12.00 noon on Monday 15 February.

 

Please note, your time allocated to speak may have to be strictly limited if there are a lot of submissions. This may be as short as one minute.

Minutes:

Nothing was received.

 

35.

Suspension of Committee Procedure Rules CMR10 and CMR11 Relating to the Moving of Motions and Rules of Debate

Recommended – that having regard to the quasi-judicial nature of the business on the Agenda, those Committee Procedure Rules relating to the moving of

motions and the rules of debate (CMR10 and 11) be suspended for the duration

of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Resolved - that having regard to the quasi-judicial nature of the business on the Agenda, those Committee Procedure Rules relating to the moving of motions and the rules of debate (CMR10 and 11) be suspended for the duration of the Meeting.

 

36.

Exclusion of Press and Public

Recommended – that under Section 11A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972

the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the ground that involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1of Schedule 12A to the Act, as amended.

 

Minutes:

Resolved - that under Section 11A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the Meeting for the following items of business on the ground that involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act, as amended.

 

37.

ZZ - REPORT TO DETERMINE WHETHER ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN AGAINST THE HOLDER OF A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE

Minutes:

ZZ was in attendance.

 

PC Quinton (PCQ) from Avon and Somerset Constabulary was in attendance.

 

The Neighbourhood Enforcement Team (NET) Officer introduced the report and summarised it for everyone.

 

Everyone also viewed the body cam video footage of ZZ being stopped and questioned by PCQ on 5th January 2021.

 

PCQ confirmed his evidence as presented in the report. He also advised everyone that although the prosecution file for the defective tyres offences has been submitted, a court date has not yet been set.

 

ZZ then put his case highlighting the following:

 

  • He accepted that he had made mistakes and apologised to the Members of the Committee for his actions; he had meant no disrespect to them
  • He stated that there were a number of mitigating circumstances relating to his action including Covid 19, he has health issues, is in arrears with his mortgage, Council Tax and Income Tax payments
  • He has worked as a taxi driver since 1996; he has 3 children to support and cannot do any other job due to his health issues
  • He acknowledged his previous offences
  • He has a brother who is in the BRI and is blind; he has to look after him
  • He hires the vehicle from another company and is responsible for the wear and tear on the vehicle; the last time he looked at the tyres they looked fine

 

The Chair advised ZZ that the overriding responsibility of the Committee is public safety and the Members have to decide whether or not he (ZZ) is a fit and proper person to hold a Private Hire Driver Licence.

 

PCQ confirmed that the agreement that ZZ has with the hire company requires him to be responsible for the inspection and replacement as necessary of the tyres on the vehicle.

 

In response to questions ZZ stated that this had been the first time had illegally plied for hire and that he normally inspected the vehicle 2 to 3 times per week but had forgotten prior to the occasion he was found to have defective tyres on the vehicle.

 

ZZ, the Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer and the Avon and Somerset Constabulary Taxi Compliance Officer left the room whilst the Committee made its decision.

 

Decision

 

The Committee considered very carefully all of the written, video and verbal evidence that it had received.

 

Following a debate the Committee decided that the Private Hire Driver’s Licence of ZZ be suspended for a period of 6 months on the ground contained in section 61(1)(b) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 namely “any other reasonable cause”.

 

Reasons for Decision

 

There were a number of issues for the Committee to consider whereby the standards of ZZ had fallen far below those that the Council is entitled to expect from those whom it licences.  Whilst the Committee had sympathy for ZZ concerning his financial difficulties, the safety of the public does not require any consideration of the personal circumstances of the driver, which are irrelevant save in rare cases to explain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

GS - REPORT OF AN APPLICATION FOR THE GRANT OF A PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE LICENCE SEEKING EXEMPTION FROM COUNCIL POLICY

Minutes:

GS was in attendance accompanied by his wife.

 

Councillor Afzal Shah accompanied them.

 

The Senior Licencing Officer introduced the report and summarised it for everyone. He confirmed that the Council had decided that in 2018 vehicles of this type would no longer licenced due to the constrained internal dimensions of the vehicle. It is made clear on the BCC website that vehicles of this particular make and model will not be licensed.

 

GS and his wife put their case and answered questions highlighting the following:

 

  • They did not know that the Council would not license the vehicle
  • They bought it on finance and are now so financially stretched they cannot afford to buy food for their children
  • She works part time for NHS 111 but at the moment he is the only financial provider for the family at the moment
  • They bought the vehicle in December (2020) but did not know that it did not comply with the Council’s Policy on licensing private hire vehicles; they confirmed that they had not checked on the Council website prior to purchasing the vehicle

 

The Senior Licensing Officer explained that whilst the vehicle fails the particular test concerning the distance between the rear of the front seat and the backrest of the rear seat by 15mm, the overall internal dimensions of the vehicle are not considered large enough to make it comfortable for 4 adults.

 

Councillor Shah explained that although GS lives in the Lawrence Hill Ward, neither of the Councillors for Ward were available, so he had agreed to speak on their behalf for GS. He has seen the vehicle and is aware that BCC has previously licensed this model. He asked that the Committee uses its discretion. He acknowledged that GS had made a mistake and had not checked the Policy on the website. He noted that English is second language for GS and asked that the Committee be mindful of the current situation. He is not aware of any problems with this vehicle.

 

In response to a question, the Senior Licensing Officer advised that whilst the website does not provide a list of the vehicles which can be licensed, It does however list this vehicle as one that will not be licensed.

 

GS, his wife, Cllr Shah and the Senior Licensing Officer left the room whilst the Committee made its decision.

 

Decision

 

The Committee considered very carefully all of the written, video and verbal evidence that it had received.

 

Following a debate the Committee decided that a private hire vehicle licence be granted in respect of vehicle registration RA18 UOV in accordance with section 48 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

 

Reasons for Decision

 

The Committee noted that the vehicle had undergone an inspection at Fleet Services on 23 December 2020 and although it passed the mechanical and cosmetic check, it had failed on the measurements of the rear seats. The Council’s policy on Private Hire Vehicle Specification with covers internal dimensions states:

 

7. All vehicles should have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.