Safeguarding for the Taxi Drivers and those vulnerable

By 12/11/2021 No Comments

Fleet owners, fleet drivers and the community, we have a responsibility to acknowledge, identify and safeguard all those that are exploited and taken advantage of due to their innocence and vulnerability.

Sexual exploitation of children and young people have been identified throughout the UK, in both rural and urban areas, and in all parts of the world. The nature of this form of exploitation affects boys and young men as well as girls and young women. It deprives and takes away children of their childhood and can in in most cases have a serious long-term impact on every aspect of their natural life, health, and education.

Child sexual exploitation not only severely damages the life of the one suffering the exploitation but also it damages the lives of families and carers of those vulnerably exploited and can lead to family break-ups and trauma of unexpected consequences.

Sexual exploitation of children and young people is completely unacceptable and although we within the private hire industry can’t save the world, but we can start to be the example of standing up and be determined to do all we can to help eradicate it especially within the industry we are in.

Children who are sexually exploited are the victims of sexual abuse and should be safeguarded from further harm. Sexually exploited children should not be regarded as criminals and the primary law enforcement response must be directed at perpetrators who groom children for sexual exploitation.

As part of changing the private hire and wider transport industry views have started to change and steps are being implemented or are in progress throughout the UK to make it mandatory that fleet owners and its drivers are aware and understand the importance of safeguarding against child sexual exploitation.

Many councils across the country such as Rotherham Borough Council clearly states that ‘All drivers must pass a driver knowledge test and a safeguarding course as part of the application process’. (Source of information:

Barnsley Borough Council have their own guidelines outlined for new taxi drivers whether part of hackney carriage or private hire vehicle the taxi driver license will only be issued as follows:

You can apply for a new licence if you have the right to work in the UK and have held a full driving licence for at least 12 months.

New licences

To apply for a new licence, you need to:

  • pass a taxi driver theory test and attend a safeguarding training session.
  • complete a driving assessment.
  • pass an enhanced DBS check.
  • have medical clearance to Group 2 standards;
  • provide two-character references (and a Certificate of Good Character from a relevant embassy if required);
  • submit an online application, including uploading evidence that you’ve completed all the above.

Existing taxi drivers once their license is about to expire can have it renewed once the new safeguarding protocols have need completed.

Theory test and safeguarding training

You can book a taxi driver theory test online. The fee for this is £65.

The test lasts for 70 minutes and takes place in the IT suite at Library @ the Lightbox in Barnsley town centre. If it’s the first time you’ve sat the test, you’ll also need to attend a safeguarding training session on the same day. The safeguarding session takes place at Barnsley Town Hall.

If you fail the theory test, you’ll have to:

  • pay the fee again if you want to re-sit the test
  • wait at least six months before re-sitting the test if you’ve already failed it three times within a 12-month period.

Source of information:

The Transport for London (TfL) are also in the process of taking steps as the TfL plan to introduce safeguarding training for licenced drivers, new and existing licensed drivers.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has confirmed the introduction of safeguarding training for Transport for London (TfL) licensed drivers and applicants. 

Khan said “In addition to safeguarding communications already issued to licensees, Transport for London plans to introduce a number of additional training modules to taxi and private hire drivers later this year. This includes an interactive online presentation focused on safeguarding and the role licensees can play in keeping their passengers, including women, children, young people and vulnerable adults, safe.

Why safeguarding training?

In July the Department for Transport issued statutory guidance for councils including TfL.  The new guidance states: 

All licensing authorities should provide safeguarding advice and guidance to the trade and should require taxi and private hire vehicle drivers to undertake safeguarding training. This is often produced in conjunction with the police and other agencies. These programmes have been developed to help drivers and operators: 

  • provide a safe and suitable service to vulnerable passengers of all ages.
  • recognise what makes a person vulnerable; and
  • understand how to respond, including how to report safeguarding concerns and where to get advice.

Source of information:

Although these would be welcomed improvements in services for the children and their families, the need to protect children and young people from harm and neglect is ever more challenging.

This new guidance should help police, The industry fleet owners, and drivers as well as the community to rise to the challenge of identifying children at risk through sexual exploitation and taking steps to protect them and acting against perpetrators.

Overall purpose is to raise awareness and accountability of non-compliance. The private hire industry and fleet of drivers are an integral part of the community and the community trust in the industry is pivotal for growth and sustainability. 

Safeguarding awareness


Licensing authorities should consider the role that those in the taxi and private

hire vehicle industry can play in spotting and reporting the abuse, exploitation or neglect of children and vulnerable adults.

As with any group of people, it is overwhelmingly the case that those within the industry can be an asset in the detection and prevention of abuse or neglect of children and vulnerable adults.

 However, this is only the case if they are aware of and alert to the signs of potential abuse and know where to turn to if they suspect that a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of harm or is in immediate danger.

 Source of information:


People who work in these industries are in a unique position and what the police urge the industry people to do

Local police across the country have urged taxi drivers to learn how to spot the signs of the sexual exploitation of vulnerable young people.

Leicestershire Police believes people in those industries may unwittingly be encountering children who are being sexually abused.

Detective Inspector Jenni Heggs, of Leicester police, who leads the child sexual exploitation (CSE) unit, said: People who work in these industries are in a unique position to spot the signs of CSE and they have a duty to notice when all may not be right and to pass their concerns on to the police – potentially saving a child from this horrendous crime”.

Exploited children are often terrified and usually too scared to raise the alarm and ask for help.

Taxi drivers, for example, need to notice when all may not be right with passengers in their vehicle, and raise the alarm if necessary.

“CSE is often hidden from view and going unnoticed.

We need our licensed drivers who are in a unique position to act as our eyes and ears, to spot activity or predatory behaviour that may be linked to child sexual exploitation and let us know so we can act quickly to safeguard victims and bring their abusers to justice.”

Leicestershire’s police and crime commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, said: “We have a duty to ensure frontline service industries are armed with the right information and are supported by police and local authority professionals.

“We must all work together to protect our children and raising awareness of CSE is crucial so that everybody across the county can spot the signs and speak out to stop it.

“These training materials will help us work together to inform, educate and prevent children from being sexually abused and it will soon be a mandatory requirement to undertake the CSE module as part of gaining a new taxi licence.

Source of information:

With all that is being said across the industry and with councils clamping down on safeguarding awareness, its time stop, observe, and act and make the private hire industry stronger and more educated in these important matters that affect us all.

The Child Sexual Exploitation course with Safety as a Standard (SaaS) is the best place for owners of fleets and for its fleet of drivers to educate and be acknowledged within there communities and respective councils of their commitment to safeguard the vulnerable.

The SaaS membership routes are specially designed to help educate and assert awareness of all the important issues.

The affiliate membership and members membership are designed for the drivers and operating management of the fleets. Whilst the corporate membership is designed for the organisation itself to take control of operations and drivers and make sure they are upholding the company name and reputation of safeguarding awareness in child sexual exploitation and reassuring the community of your commitment and future growth of fleet through drivers wanting to be part of a reputable firm.

With day-to-day changes and with the councils clamping down on safeguarding awareness and with the importance to arise awareness on child sexual exploitation, all firms should enrol onto the SaaS programme and take the leaping steps that shows the firms dedication to it’s drivers, community, and the councils within which they operate.