Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, welcomes government plans for new taxi licensing guidelines

File photo of an illuminated taxi sign Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire/PA Images

All taxi and minicab drivers could have to pass enhanced criminal record checks under government plans to protect vulnerable passengers.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on new licensing guidelines for councils.

The proposed measures include an assurance of enhanced criminal record and background checks for drivers, and the possible introduction of CCTV in cabs.

Sarah Champion, the MP for Rotherham, has welcomed the proposals for national standards. She has previously raised concerns over loopholes in licensing, after evidence emerged of taxis being used to transport children for sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town.

Taxis minister Nusrat Ghani told ITV News she had "done a huge amount of work" with the Rotherham MP.

She said: "While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children.

"These rules would make sure that drivers are fit to carry passengers, keeping people safe while stopping those with bad intentions from getting behind the wheel of a taxi or minicab."

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The official public consultation will run until April 22.