To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent estimate he has made of the number of taxi licenses granted to drivers with criminal records in the last five years.
The Department for Transport does not hold this information. The Government is responsible for setting the regulatory structure within which licensing authorities in England issue taxi and private hire vehicle service licences.
Licensing authorities have a duty to ensure that any person to whom they grant a licence is a fit and proper person. As part of this assessment all licensing authorities require an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check; this provides details of convictions and cautions and may include additional information which a chief police officer reasonably believes is relevant and ought to be disclosed.
The Department is consulting on draft statutory guidance to be issued to licensing authorities on how they should use the extensive existing powers to protect children and vulnerable adult when using these services. This includes a policy on the assessment of previous criminal convictions. The draft policy places passenger safety as the priority while enabling past offenders to sufficiently evidence that they have been successfully rehabilitated so that they might obtain a licence.