The driver was in attendance.
The Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer introduced the report and drew attention to the following:
· JM has a Private Hire Licence (PHD) held since January 2004 and due to expire at January 2023.
· On July 10 2020, PC Quinton informed BCC that JM was stopped and found to not be wearing an ID badge. There was a passenger in the vehicle, but JM could not provide any booking details. JM was cautioned for plying for hire, which invalidated his insurance. Therefore three offences were committed: plying for hire, not displaying an ID badge and driving without insurance.
· JM has indicated he will accept 6 penalty points and a fine.
· During the stop, JM asserted that the passenger was a friend and not a customer, which PC Quinton believes is mendacious.
· A DVLA check shows JM has no previous points or endorsements. There are also no complaints on file. The committee has received 2 character references.
The applicant gave the following evidence:
· JM expressed remorse for his actions and wanted to give an explanation of his circumstances at the time.
· This incident occurred during lockdown after a period of 3 months off the road due to Covid-19 restrictions. The lack of business has caused JM and his family financial hardship.
· JM had been operating around Southmead Hospital as this was the only place to get consistent work. JM was approached by a member of the public while waiting for another job and agreed to transport them.
· When stopped by PC Quinton, JM admitted that he said this individual was a friend and not a customer, which was untrue.
· JM admitted that he was wearing an old expired ID as he had forgotten to wear his new one.
After questioning from the committee, the following information was confirmed:
· A record check carried out by PC Quinton during this hearing confirmed JM has 6 penalty points allocated to his licence.
· Although JM did not notify BCC licensing of this incident as per his licence conditions, PC Quinton said he would do this on his behalf.
· JM has actually held a licence since 1999, but BCC computer records do not go back this far.
· JM does not dispute the NET and PC Quinton’s account of the incident and apologised for his actions.
· JM was under significant financial hardship due to lockdown, was overdue on car payments and had to take a mortgage holiday.
RESOLVED (unanimous decision)
JM has committed two offences of plying for hire and having no insurance which under the Council’s policy would normally result in a period of suspension of up to 6 months. The offences of plying for hire and no insurance are considered to be serious since not only does this place the public at risk but it also deprives properly licensed Hackney Carriage drivers of their trade. JM was also not wearing his badge which is a breach of conditions attached to the PHD licence.
However, we have taken into account the fact that JM has been licensed by the Council with an unblemished record since 1999 and he has expressed remorse for his actions. We also recognise that the offences occurred during an unusual and difficult time for licensed drivers. We have therefore decided that the individual circumstances of this case merit a departure from Council policy and the National Standards so we are not going to take action against JM on this occasion. Although his conduct fell below the standards we are entitled to expect from our licensees on this occasion, we are going to issue JM with a warning in the hope that there will be no repeat of this conduct.