AM was in attendance.
PC P Quinton was in attendance as was Alison Wright Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer.
The Chair explained the procedure that would be followed and everyone introduced themselves.
The Chair invited PC Quinton to introduce the report and played the video footage from his body camera. Explaining that from experience he was able to determine from viewing how a vehicle was positioned and for how long and the conversation between customers and driver if a driver is plying for trade.
The following was highlighted:
· That the passengers had noticed the police car pursuing and asked AM to stop; that they had not booked the fare but approached AM asking him to take them to Easton for £10
· The passengers in their statement stated that they had insisted AM pull over when he failed to respond to the police pursuit.
· AM’s uncertainty about the name of the alleged person who booked the fare and his inability to evidence the job on his pda.
· The reasons were given as to why there was some doubt around the narrative provided by AM about the alleged origin of the booking; the story provided stated that it had been made by door staff or another representative from the club; the Officer had conversations with the door staff in an attempt to substantiate the narrative but was unable to do so.
· AM had not been violent or abusive in any of his encounters with police officers involved but on first approaching the vehicle because there was some doubt, as to why AM was reaching under his seat he was arrested for a short time and handcuffed.
AM then put his case highlighting the following:
· Expressed his distressed about being handcuffed after the police pursuit explaining that that he was reaching for his phone under the seat.
· Explaining that he noticed the police car flashing lights but was unable to pull over safely along the road because of parked vehicles and deemed it best to pull over in Fairfax street
· He provided a further explanation as to why the fare was booked using his mobile phone contending that the booking happened at 1.05am and that he was approached by the police officer sometime after.
· AM asserted that as a result of consulting with the licensing office had placed 2 identifying stickers on display in his vehicle therefore was compliant to policy.
The Licensing Officer, applicant and solicitor left the room while the Committee made its decision.
Members considered very carefully all of the written and verbal evidence presented to them.
They noted their Policy concerning ‘plying for hire’ and ‘fit and proper person’; that if the circumstances surrounding the offence was consider so serious it was within their authority to suspend AM licence for up to 6 months and/or revoke.
Members expressed concern that he failed to stop when being pursued by the police, noting the statement made by the passengers regarding this. Considered the narrative provided by AM about the job could not be trusted because the report presented by the Officer clearly evidenced that AM’s version of events could not be substantiated.
Members were concerned that his actions meant that whilst he had the passengers in the car he was driving without insurance. They noted the defects on the vehicle; his failure display his badges in the proper manner; historical issues unearthed relating to his licence.
Members were satisfied that AM had breached his licence by ‘plying for hire’ and following a vote on whether to suspend his licence for 6 months or revoke; they further considered the narrative around the allegation; AM version of events and the untruths shared; that if AM had been open and honest about the fare they could have taken this in mitigation; that his actions deemed him not ‘fit and proper person’; when put to the vote (3 for and 2 against) members agreed that AM’s licence should be revoked.
Everyone returned to the room to hear the announcement of the decision.
Resolved – that the AM’s Private Hire Driving License, badge number 3305, expiration date 08.08.2019 be revoked