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Borough council agrees to consult on taxi policy changes, including safeguarding training for drivers

PUBLISHED: 09:23 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:23 13 June 2018

25th anniversary feature on Swift Taxis, Swift Freight and the Garage and MOT centre in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass

25th anniversary feature on Swift Taxis, Swift Freight and the Garage and MOT centre in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

Proposals setting out new safeguarding training for Great Yarmouth taxi drivers are moving forward, after councillors agreed to a consultation into the matter.

A variety of potential changes to the borough council’s taxi policy went before licensing committee members this week, with training to help drivers spot signs of abuse included in these.

Under the new policy, drivers will be required to undergo safeguarding training before they can be granted a licence to take passengers.

This particular change was designed to make drivers aware of the tell tale signs that somebody is suffering from abuse and train them on how best to report these issues.

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said the changes aimed to “bring Great Yarmouth in line with other Norfolk districts, which already have completed the process of incorporating safeguarding training in their taxi policies”.

They added: “Taxi drivers come into contact with lots of people on a routine basis and therefore can play an important role in helping to identify where a person is being abused.”

A spokesman for domestic abuse charity Leeway last week said the proposals were “massively positive”.

He said: “Quite often people use the same taxis and build rapport with their drivers so may feel comfortable opening up to them.

“The more people that can identify the signs and know how to point people in the direction of the help they need the better.”

The proposed policy change also sees the council making a conscious effort to encourage firms to use more eco-friendly vehicles, by abolishing the current 1400cc minimum engine size requirement.

A third proposed change suggests the removal of age limits on renewal of vehicle licences, along with a condition that vehicles must be nine years old or under on initial registration.

At a meeting of the borough council’s licensing committee, members agreed to consult on the proposed updated policy, as per the recommendation of their officers.

A six-week consultation period will now begin later in the month, from Monday, June 25.

Anybody wishing to take part in the consultation can do so via www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk/have-your-say

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