Taxi drivers in Great Yarmouth could receive safeguarding training in council policy changes

PUBLISHED: 14:42 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:42 05 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

Taxi drivers in Great Yarmouth may have to under take training to help protect people suffering from abuse, if new plans are approved.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council is in the process of reviewing its current taxi policy and one of the suggested changes would see drivers providing much more than just a journey from A to B for passengers.

If members of the council’s licensing committee agree to the proposal, drivers will be required to participate in safeguarding training, designed to equip them to recognise the telltale signs of abuse and how best to report concerns.

A spokesman for the borough council said: “The proposed change to the taxi policy aims to bring Great Yarmouth in line with other Norfolk districts, which already have completed the process of incorporating safeguarding training into their taxi policies.

“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.

“The training would ensure drivers are aware of the potential signs and how to report any concerns.”

The proposals have been welcomed by Norfolk-based charity Leeway, which offers help and support for people that are victims of domestic abuse.

A spokesman for Leeway said: “I think it is massively positive - it is really important people are able to spot the signs of an abusive relationship.

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

Kevin Boyne, of Yarmouth-based Swift Taxis, said drivers at the firm already had a degree of training in this area to allow them to provide school journeys.

He said: “I think no matter what profession you are in, if you are public facing you should have training to see signs that somebody is in trouble.”

Another change proposed in the report, which goes before the committee on Monday, suggests removing minimum engine size restrictions to encourage more environmentally friendly vehicles.

Should members agree to the changes, they would be subject to a six week consultation period, which would begin on Monday, June 25.

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