Agenda and draft minutes

Public Safety and Protection Sub-Committee A - Tuesday, 19th April, 2022 10.00 am

Venue: A Committee Room - City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR. View directions

Contact: Oliver Harrison 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Safety Information

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and issued the safety information.

2.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Chris Davies.

3.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None received.

4.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 477 KB

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED the minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record.

5.

Public Forum

Up to 30 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 13 April.

 

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 18 April.

 

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:

None received.

6.

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.

 

7.

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 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.

 

8.

JM - APPLICATION FOR THE GRANT OF A HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVER LICENCE

Minutes:

Cllr Eddy was nominated as Chair for this case as Cllr Ali had to withdraw.

 

The applicant was present with a representative and three character witnesses. These witnesses were called at the start of the hearing and gave the following accounts:

 

1.     Had known JM for 14 years and is a supervisor at Bristol Temple Meads. He organises road replacement services and finds JM helpful. This includes provision for disabled travellers. Where other drivers are reluctant to take wheelchair users, JM is always prepared to do so. During a major flooding incident JM helped in the coordination of replacement services even though this meant missing out on jobs personally.

2.     Had known JM for 30 years and is chair of a Bristol mosque. He has found JM very helpful towards disabled users including transporting them to and from home. JM trained as a covid marshal during the pandemic and helped mosque attendees. JM is one of 13 members of the organising committee and has been for 9 years. JM has looked after vulnerable people at the mosque and the community trusts him to do so. The witness does not believe JM presents a risk to the public, though he admitted the PSP risk standards may be different.

3.     Had known JM for 25 years and runs a funeral organisation. JM has assisted in transporting the deceased and bereaved families. JM does this on a voluntary basis and with great sensitivity. The witness does not believe JM presents a risk to the public and would trust family members with his care.

 

The witnesses were thanked and dismissed for the remainder of the hearing.

 

In presenting his case, JM and his representative made the following points:

·       The medical statement about the wheelchair user injured in 2019 shows that this accident was a minor issue. The representative said that the sub-committee had been ‘misled’ over the seriousness of the incident.

·       The statement from DR in the report pack supports that JM can be trusted with vulnerable people. DR understands the regulations and policies around disabled people better than most.

·       JM has been a licenced driver for over 20 years. He has some offences in his early days but has paid the price for these. In 2015 he was issued a licence after a PSP hearing that considered his whole record.

·       JM has undertaken several courses to improve his skill and safeguarding ability. He has worked as a covid marshal, with responsibility for women and children.

·       JM has done community work recently which he believes has changed his attitude, and he will bring this new attitude to work.

 

After questioning from the sub-committee, the following information was confirmed:

·       That there was a new set of national standards set last year and BCC had updated its own policy to reflect those standards and the sub-committee would be making decisions on that basis.

·       The sub-committee is unable to reconsider the decisions of previous sub-committees or court judgements. They will also consider the whole of JM’s record  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

SA - REPORT OF AN APPLICATION FOR THE GRANT OF A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE

Minutes:

The applicant and his representative were present. The representative submitted additional information which was copied and circulated to the sub-committee.

 

In presenting his case, SA and his representative made the following points:

·       SA and his representative challenged the conviction for dangerous tyres.

·       SA has attended every meeting with his support organisation, showing dedication and organisation skills. SA’s solicitor was not supportive.

·       SA has a difficult personal life, his mother has passed away and he was not able to visit due to Covid restrictions. His partner has also passed away, giving him more responsibility for the children. SA is willing to make amends if he has done something wrong. He has always cooperated and submitted relevant evidence openly.

·       SA does not believe he is a dangerous driver and all his convictions are unintentional. He said he has learned from everything that has happened and has seen life collapse on him.

·       It has been a difficult period financially, especially for the self-employed.

·       SA said he is a good driver despite the personal circumstances and is especially careful with vulnerable people. He said he gives free lifts to older people.

·       SA said that his manager trusts him to run the most expensive car in the fleet.

 

After questioning from the sub-committee, the following information was confirmed:

·       The standard of proof that the sub-committee considers matters to is the balance of probabilities (i.e. more likely than not), which is the civil standard of proof and a lower standard than the criminal standard of proof.

·       The Department for Transport published the Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Standards in July 2020 which are national standards; BCC Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2026 was amended and published in 2021 which incorporates these standards. The committee will need good reason to depart from the policy. SA would need to convince the committee he is fit and proper person to hold a licence. Under the policy a single offence may not be a prohibit the grant of a licence but repeat offences should be considered.

·       SA currently has 9 points on his licence. At one point he had 15 points on his licence.

·       It is accepted that offences can be committed unintentionally, and a single occurrence of a minor traffic offence would not prohibit the granting of a licence.  However, applicants with multiple motoring convictions may indicate that an applicant does not exhibit the behaviours of a safe road user and one that is suitable to drive professionally.

·       The sub-committee cannot ‘go behind’ a conviction. In the matter regarding dangerous tyres, a court has already found SA guilty.

·       SA said that he did not accept the decision of the court, that he did not understand what was going on and that his solicitor did not appear.

·       SA has an offence of driving without insurance. It was clarified that as SA did not hold a private hire drivers’ licence at the time, he was not able to drive a private hire vehicle even in a personal capacity.

·       SA  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

IR - APPLICATION FOR THE RENEWAL OF A HACKNEY CARRIAGE DRIVER LICENCE AND A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE.

Minutes:

The applicant was present. IR submitted additional information which was circulated to the sub-committee.

 

The Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer introduced the report and drew attention to the following:

·       The sub-committee is asked to consider the renewal of both Hackney and Private Hire Driver’s licences.

·       The Neighbourhood Enforcement Team was informed by PC Quinton on 26 February 2021 that IR’s vehicle was stopped as part of a static check. Two young women were in the vehicle. The meter was on but had no value on it. The women said they had agreed a fixed price with the driver. Drivers must use their meter immediately when a passenger embarks.

·       The passengers refused to supply an exact address so it is unknown whether the agreed price would be overcharging.

·       There are no previous history of complaints, points or endorsements.

 

In presentinghis case,IR madethe followingpoints:

·       IR said he was sorry for not using the meter and that it was his job to use it, he said it was the first time and it was a mistake. He understands it is his responsibility, not the customer. He said that this was an isolated incident and will not do it again.

·       He was approached by a pair of women who said that Uber had quoted them an expensive fare, so negotiated a lower one with IR.

·       IR was struggling financially at the time and was having difficulty supporting his disabled daughter.

·       IR has a very long and clean record with no other complaints or endorsements.

·       Since this incident, IR has been approached by other customers attempting to agree a fixed fare but has refused.

 

After questioning from the sub-committee, the following information was confirmed:

·       A committee member said that other drivers in similar cases have said that this was their first and only offence. IR insisted that this was true in his case, and he has no other offences since 1989.

·       IR has been a private hire driver for 17 years. He was asked whether he fully understood what is expected of him as a licensed driver. IR has undertaken the gold standard training programme.

·       IR submitted financial and medical evidence, but the sub-committee cannot consider this as part of its decision.

 

The applicant was given the opportunity to sum up, then parties left the room while the sub-committee deliberated.

 

Decision

 

The Sub-Committee has determined to renew the applicant’s Private Hire Driver licence and Hackney Carriage Driver licence and imposes a warning as to his conduct of accepting a fare without using the meter, which is an offence under the byelaws  (the City of Bristol Byelaws With Respect to Hackney Carriages and Motor Vehicles).

 

The Sub-Committee, in arriving at this decision, took into account the applicant’s 17 years of experience as a licenced driver and an otherwise unblemished record during that time. The Sub-Committee also heard the remorse the applicant has regarding this matter and took into account that the applicant has been unlicenced since the licences expired just over one month  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.