Agenda and minutes

Public Safety and Protection Sub-Committee B - Tuesday, 4th August, 2020 10.00 am

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

Contact: Oliver Harrison 

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Items
No. Item

33.

Welcome and Safety Information pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and drew attention to the safety information.

 

34.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

None received.

35.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

None received.

36.

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 29 July 2020.

 

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 3 August 2020.

 

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.

37.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 196 KB

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

Minutes:

The minutes of the PSP Sub B meeting on 21 July 2020 were agreed as a correct record.

38.

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:

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.

39.

Exclusion of the 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:

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.

40.

PSP Report RK

Minutes:

The applicant was in attendance.

 

The Licensing Officer introduced the report and drew attention to the following:

·       This is an application for a Private Hire Driver’s (PHD) Licence. RK declared a conviction for conspiracy to supply class B drugs, which was confirmed on a DBS check, the conviction date being 19 October 2018. Disposal was imprisonment for 16 months.

·       RK previously held a PHD from 27 June 2011. An officer hearing was held by Emma Lake on 24 Jan 2019, where the decision was made to revoke the licence with immediate effect.

·       There are 2 DVLA convictions from 9/10 years ago. There is also a previous caution on theft by finding from July 2006.

·       RL is seeking exemption from the gold standard and knowledge tests.

·       Policy on drug offences is to refuse an application within 5 years of conviction, which would cover up to 19 October 2023.

 

The applicant gave the following evidence:

·       RK believes that a considerable amount of time has passed since the offence.

·       Serving a prison sentence has been a life changing experience and made RK realise what is important in life. He has been a taxi driver for 8 years.

·       RK notified BCC as soon as possible about the arrest which shows honesty as he still had 2 years on his licence.

·       RK apologised for his behaviour and explained it was a difficult period in his life as he was going through separation and got involved with a bad crowd.

·       RK wants a chance to go back to work and lead a normal life. He believes that his custodial sentence was punishment enough and preventing him from working is punitive.

 

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

·       The nature of a particular drug offence can be considered, supply of drugs is more serious than possession. 2 weeks ago the Department for Transport produced new standards guidance which we will be adopting in the future. Under this new guidance, drug possession is a 5 year cool off period but supply is a 10 year cool off. Current BCC policy is 5 for all drug offences.

·       There is a requirement for Local Authorities to have regard for the new guidance even if it is not adopted.

·       It was confirmed that the belated evidence submitted, including character reference, had been circulated to members.

·       RK was caught with 1kg of cannabis in his possession.

·       The law is that personal circumstances are not relevant in these hearings. It is about the suitability of individual to hold a licence and public safety.

·       RK was arrested in March 2018, remanded until October 2018, served 7 months in prison and was out on licence since June 2019.  

 

The Committee withdrew to deliberate on their decision.

 

RESOLVED (unanimous decision)

To refuse to grant the application for a Private Hire Driver’s licence in accordance with section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 because the Committee could not be satisfied that RK was a fit and proper person to hold such  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.

41.

PSP Report MW

Minutes:

The applicant was in attendance.

 

The Licensing Officer introduced the report and drew attention to the following:

·       MW is applying for renewal of a PHD licence. His existing licence expired 15 June 2020. MW has held a licence since June 2010 with short interruptions. On his application, MW declared two speeding offences from 2017. However a DVLA check showed two speeding offences from 2016 which were not declared.

·       When MW received penalty points in November 2017 he was up to a total of 12 points on his licence. This would normally result in a driving ban. This was considered by Weston-Super-Mare Magistrates Court, but they accepted a plea of exceptional hardship. 

·       Licensees are required to notify the Local Authority of any offence they incur. MW has not notified any of his offences to date. At the time of his 2016 offences, MW was reminded of the need to declare convictions in future but he did not declare his 2017 convictions. MW maintains that he telephoned the authority to inform, but there is no record of this.

·       MW has several complaints on file: allegation of plying for hire (2011), making obscene gestures (2011) and using a map during the knowledge test (2009). Has also received conviction for driving without due care and attention in 2014.

 

The applicant gave the following evidence:

·       MW maintains that he made two phone calls to the BCC licensing office when he received the summons his speeding offence. He was advised to contact again once the case went to court. A licensing officer took his details and said she would call him back but he claims this never happened.

·       MW has not incurred any offences since 2017. He stated that incurring traffic offences is inevitable given the amount of miles driven. He stated that he had a badly behaving customer distracting him at the 2017 offences.

·       MW is a carer for his brother, who has MS and is bed-bound. His mother was also diagnosed with cancer at the time of the offences. She is now in remission but is still weak. MW is restricted in his work during Covid-19 as he has to be careful about infecting his vulnerable family members.

·       MW apologised for his conduct and acknowledged that it was below the standard expected of taxi drivers.

 

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

·       New statutory guidance has come into force a few weeks ago on criminal convictions. Drivers must notify the authority within 48 hours of arrest, charge or conviction. Failure to disclose might be seen as a question of honesty that affects their suitability to hold a licence.

·       Under the current BCC policy, notification must happen on the next working day after the offence.

·       MW has been told several times to put notifications in writing. It also says this in the licencing documents. Notification by phone is insufficient.

·       MW said that as he rents his vehicle, there have been delays in his previous notification as he gets the offence paperwork second  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

PSP Report NET LS

Minutes:

The driver was in attendance.

 

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

·       This report is to determine if action needed against LS. LS holds a PHD licence with expiry of 4 October 2020. He has held a licence since 2006. He also owns his taxi and is the only person insured for it, with an expiry of 25 December 2020.

·       The Neighbourhood Enforcement Team (NET) received notification from Gwent Police on 30 July that LS had been arrested on the M4 for drink driving and failed to provide a specimen in custody. His court case will be heard on 11 August 2020.

·       LS did not notify the Local Authority of his arrest, which is a breach of his licence conditions.

·       A DVLA check shows LS has no other offences recorded. There is one complaint recorded in 2012, where LS was aggressive and sexist to female driver.

 

The applicant gave the following evidence:

·       LS was under a large amount of strain at the time of the offence. His wife was ill and in and out of hospital regularly. His mother died in April. He has have 5 siblings and is the de facto head of the family now. His father is deaf and LS is a carer for him. He had to arrange the funeral for his mother, but was only permitted 10 attendees due to Covid-19 restrictions.

·       LS admitted to having alcohol in his system as he had 2 beers with dinner. Under normal circumstances, he would take a shift off work if he had been drinking, but on this occasion he drove to visit his sister in Cardiff. He was low on petrol so drove at a slower rate and was stopped by police. He was then arrested on suspicion of drink driving.  

·       LS apologised for his actions, but said that he did not think he was impaired by that amount of alcohol he had drunk. He has a thyroid issue meaning alcohol stays in his system for longer than average.

 

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

·       The legal position is this committee is fulfilling a regulatory function. It is not second guessing the active criminal proceedings but is still able to act. The committee does not have to wait until a criminal conviction to take action.

·       The committee is here to establish whether there is a risk to the public. It is not allowed to take into account personal circumstances of a licensee.

·       There is new statutory guidance that states licensees should notify the Local Authority of motoring offences within 48 hours. The current BCC policy is to notify the authority by the next working day. This requirement is stated on the licence.

·       LS stated that his solicitor had told him he did not need to notify the authority as he had not been convicted of the offence.

 

The Committee withdrew to deliberate on their decision.

 

RESOLVED (unanimous decision)

 

1.         That the Private Hire Drivers Licence of LS  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.