Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Other Licensing Committee Minutes

Date:
Tuesday, 12th September, 2017
Time:
10.00 a.m.
Place:
Council Chamber, Town Hall, High Street, Stockton, TS18 1AU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Cllr Paul Kirton(Chairman), Cllr Derrick Brown, Cllr Chris Clough, Cllr Evaline Cunningham, Cllr Phil Dennis, Cllr Elsi Hampton, Cllr Eileen Johnson, Cllr Mrs Jean O'Donnell, Cllr David Wilburn, Cllr Norma Wilburn, Cllr Lynn Hall (Sub Cllr Bill Woodhead MBE)
Officers:
Jonathan Nertney (DHR&LC), Polly Edwards, Leanne Maloney-Kelly, Simon Mills, Sarah Whaley(DCE)
In Attendance:
Private Hire Operator Ref - 067979, Applicant Ref - 143766 and his representative, Applicant Ref - 000926
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Ken Dixon, Cllr Mrs Kathryn Nelson, Cllr Maurice Perry, Cllr Bill Woodhead MBE
Item Description Decision
Public
OLC
28/17
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
OLC
29/17
EVACUATION PROCEDURE
 
OLC
30/17
EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
RESOLVED that under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Confidential
OLC
31/17
PRIVATE HIRE OPERATOR - REF 067979
  • Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979
RESVOLVED that no further action be taken against Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979 as detailed above.
OLC
32/17
COMBINED DRIVER - REF 131473
  • Combined Driver - Ref 131473
RESOLVED that Combined Driver - Ref 131473 licence be revoked for the reasons as detailed above.
OLC
33/17
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE - REF 143766
  • Application for a Private Hire Driver Licence - Ref 143766
RESOLVED that Applicant - Ref 143766's application for a Private Hire driver Licence be refused for the reasons as detailed above.
OLC
34/17
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE - REF 144133
  • Application for a Private Hire Driver Licence - Ref 144133
RESOLVED that Applicant - Ref 144133 application for a Private Hire Drivers Licence be withdrawn as detailed above.
OLC
35/17
APPLICATION FOR A PRIVATE HIRE DRIVER LICENCE - REF 000926
  • Application for a Private Hire Driver Licence - Ref 000926
RESOLVED that Applicant - Ref 000926's application for a Private Hire driver Licence be refused for the reasons as detailed above.

Preamble

ItemPreamble
OLC
28/17
There were no declarations of interest.
OLC
29/17
The Evacuation Procedure was noted.
OLC
31/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to the continued fitness of a Private Hire Operator who had her PSV operator's licence revoked by the Traffic Commission.

Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979 and her husband attended the meeting and was given the opportunity to make representation. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

- Background information relating to the operator and details surrounding the revocation of her PSV licence by the Traffic Commission.

- A copy of a summary of a transcript interview.

- A copy of an appeal decision.

- A copy of email correspondence from the Community Transport Manager to the Licencing Officer dealing with the case.

The role of the Committee was to determine Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979's continued fitness as a Licensed Private Hire Operator with this Authority, after Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979 had had her PSV Operators Licence revoked at a public hearing of the Traffic Commission on the 14 September 2016.

The Committee considered all of the evidence including the report, appendices and oral evidence given Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979 and also the submission made by her husband. The Committee noted that Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979's previous record with this Authority was a good one and after considering all of the issues the Committee decided to take no action in relation to Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979's Private Hire Operators licence.

However the Committee made Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979 aware that the details of the Committee report and the decision would remain on her Private Hire Operators file with a reminder to Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979 to conduct her Private Hire business in a professional and lawful manner, ensuring Private Hire Operator - Ref 067979 did not appear before the Committee again.
OLC
32/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to the continued fitness of a combined driver who was caught and pleaded guilty to Plying for Hire in Middlesbrough in a Middlesbrough licensed vehicle and was convicted of using a vehicle whilst uninsured.

Combined Driver - Ref 131473 had been notified of the hearing and provided with papers with a copy of the committee report. Combined Driver - Ref 131473 did not attend the meeting.

The report contained details of the incident.

Following the delivery of the Committee report to Combined Driver - Ref 131473's home address Combined Driver - Ref 131473 contacted the Licensing department on the 24 August 2017 and advised officers he had surrendered his Combined Licence, stating he no longer required it as Combined Driver - Ref 131473 was licensed with Middlesbrough Council. Officers explained to Combined Driver - Ref 131473 at the time it was current policy to determine all matters under investigation even when a licensee wished to surrender the licence in question. Combined Driver - Ref 131473 confirmed to officers he would not attend the scheduled hearing adding, he had handed the licence back and ‘that was that'.

The purpose of the meeting was for members to determine whether Combined Driver - Ref 131473 was a fit and proper person to hold a Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers Licence in accordance with sections 61(1)(a) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 after he had been caught and pleaded guilty to Plying for Hire in Middlesbrough in a Middlesbrough licensed vehicle and subsequently convicted of using a vehicle whilst uninsured.

Combined Driver - Ref 131473 was working as a licensed private hire driver with Middlesbrough Council on the evening of the 28 October 2016, and had been parked in a bus stop in Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough and the covert licensing officers approached him and asked Combined Driver - Ref 131473 if he was booked. Combined Driver - Ref 131473 replied "no" and the officers asked him to take them to Middlesbrough Town Centre. Combined Driver - Ref 131473 completed the journey, and charged them 6.50; Middlesbrough Council then prosecuted Combined Driver - Ref 131473 for the offence.

In the absence of Combined Driver - Ref 131473 the Committee considered all of the evidence including the report and appendices.

The Committee concluded that driving with no insurance was classed as a major motoring offence under the Councils Guidelines on the Relevance Of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, Complaints and Character, and as such applications would normally be refused until at least a period of four years after such convictions.

In light of those findings the Committee deemed there to be sufficient reasonable cause to revoke Combined Driver - Ref 131473's licence and Combined Driver - Ref 131473's licence was revoked pursuant to sections 61(1)(b) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

Given the potential risk to passengers and other road users of using a vehicle whilst uninsured the Committee found that public safety was an issue and Combined Driver - Ref 131473's licence was revoked with immediate effect under Section 61 (2)B of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.
OLC
33/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application for a private hire driver's licence from an applicant who had 21 convictions, from 51 offences, covering theft / robbery /
burglary, malicious / criminal damage, and driving offences, driving whilst disqualified, using a vehicle uninsured, using document with intent to deceive and resist or obstruct a constable, since he was 10 years old.

Applicant - Ref 143766 and his representative Mr Moon, Director of Boro Cars attended the meeting and were given the opportunity to make representation. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

Applicant - Ref 143766's background and details of the convictions against him.

A copy of Applicant - Ref 143766's application, including his DVLA driving licence.

Copies of various letters to and from Applicant - Ref 143766.

A summary of a transcript interview with Applicant - Ref 143766.

A copy of a drug test result which had been taken from Applicant - Ref 143766.

The role of the Licensing Committee Members was to determine Applicant - Ref 143766's application to drive private hire vehicles with this Authority pursuant to section 51(1)(a) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976. The Committee had to be satisfied that Applicant - Ref 143766 was a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

The Committee considered all of the evidence including the report, appendices and oral evidence given, by Applicant - Ref 143766 and his representative.

In order to help make fair and consistent decisions when considering new applications, the Council had adopted Guidelines on the Relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, Complaints and Character. The Committee carefully considered Applicant - Ref 143766's submissions regarding his history of convictions, however, despite the time elapsed since the most recent conviction in 2005 which comprised of 5 offences for driving whilst disqualified and using a vehicle whilst uninsured, the Committee were not persuaded that Applicant - Ref 143766's submissions were exceptional such as to justify a departure from the policy guidelines particularly where it stated, ‘It may be appropriate to depart from the general guidelines in some cases, for example, situations where the offence is isolated and there are mitigating circumstances. Similarly, multiple offences or a series of offences over a period of time, which when taken individually may meet these guidelines, are likely to give greater cause for concern and may demonstrate a pattern of inappropriate behaviour, which will be taken into account.'

The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 143766 had not had any offences on his DBS since 2005 but that he had also declared on his application form that he had received penalty points on his DVLA licence and a fine in 2011 when Applicant -Ref - 143766 was caught driving a vehicle with an unsafe load. Applicant - Ref 143766 informed the Committee that he was driving a scrap lorry at the time.

The Committee also noted that Applicant - Ref 143766 received an MS90 (failing to give information as to the identity of a driver), in August 2015, which he did not declare. Applicant - Ref 143766 advised during his interview with Officers and at the Committee Hearing that he had not realised this conviction was there until the application was being processed and it was brought to his attention, as it was at a time when the vehicle was registered to one address but Applicant - Ref 143766 was living on friends sofas and of no real fixed abode.

After considering all of the evidence presented before them the Licensing Committee decided to refuse Applicant - Ref 143766's application for the grant of a Private Hire Drivers Licence on the grounds that he was not considered to be a fit and proper person at this time.

The issuing and holding of a licence was a privilege and not a right and the overriding consideration was the safety of the public.
OLC
34/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application from Applicant - Ref 144133 for a Private Hire Driver Licence from an applicant who had failed to declare on his application relevant convictions and who had also failed to declare that he had had a licence revoked by Middlesbrough Borough Council.

Applicant - Ref 144133 had been notified of the meeting and had been issued with papers including the committee report. Applicant - Ref 144133 was not in attendance at the meeting.

The Committee noted that after a copy of the report had been hand delivered to Applicant - Ref 144133's address, he contacted the Licensing department on the 1st September 2017 and advised officers that he wished to withdraw his application.

Applicant - Ref 144133 was asked to provide written confirmation, and although written confirmation was not received the Committee noted the withdrawal of Applicant - Ref 144133's application with this Authority.
OLC
35/17
Members were asked to consider a report and determine what action to take in relation to an application for a Private Hire Driver licence from Applicant - Ref 000926 who had relevant convictions and had previously had a Hackney Carriage Drivers Licence revoked by this Committee.

Applicant - Ref 000926 attended the meeting and was given the opportunity to make representation. Papers had been provided with a copy of the committee report prior to the meeting.

The report detailed the following:

A copy of Applicant - Ref 000926's application, including his DVLA licence.

Copy of letters to and from Applicant - Ref 000926.

A copy of a letter from Applicant - Ref 000926 solicitor relating to a court case dated 16 July 2014.

A copy of a revocation letter dated 6 September 2005.

A copy of a letter detailing the dismissal of Applicant - Ref 000926's appeal dated 23 January 2006.

The role of the Committee Members was to determine Applicant - Ref 000926's application to drive private hire vehicles with this Authority pursuant to section 51(1)(a) of The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976.

The Committee must be satisfied that Applicant - Ref 000926 was a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

In order to help make fair and consistent decisions when considering new applications, the Council had adopted Guidelines on the Relevance of Convictions, Cautions, Reprimands, Warnings, Complaints and Character.

The Committee carefully considered Applicant - Ref 000926 submissions regarding the relevant convictions together with the policy guidelines.

The Committee gave consideration to Applicant - Ref 000926's convictions ranging from perverting the course of justice in 2005, driving with a defective tyre in January 2014 and for assaulting a Police Officer in July 2014.

The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 000926 did not meet current transport policy as applicants with serious violent offences, such as assaulting a Police Officer would normally be refused a licence and should show a period of at least 10 years free of such convictions.

The Committee were concerned by the comments made by Applicant - Ref 000926 in his letter dated 11 July 2017 when in the opinion of the Committee Applicant - Ref 000926 attempted to minimise the seriousness of his conviction for assaulting a Police Officer. Applicant - Ref 000926 alleged that the Police told "lies" to the Court. There was no evidence that the Court made any such findings against the Police. The Committee noted that Applicant - Ref 000926 had very little to say to them in order to persuade them to depart from the Council policy guidelines.

Applicant - Ref 000926 showed no remorse regarding his convictions preferring to instead blame the Police, for in his opinion, not doing their job properly. The Committee concluded that Applicant - Ref 000926's convictions and his attitude about the Police and towards women did not make him safe, the protection of the public was the main consideration and the Committee concluded Applicant - Ref 000926 was not fit and proper person to hold a licence.

After considering all of the evidence the Licensing Committee resolved to refuse Applicant - Ref 000926's application for the grant of a Private Hire Drivers Licence under the provisions of section 51(1)(a) of the above-mentioned Act, on the grounds that he was not considered to be fit and proper person to hold such a licence at this time.

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