A new scheme aimed at keeping some of Plymouth’s most vulnerable people safe is being officially launched after a successful pilot.
Plymouth City Council’s Taxi Licensing Team joined together with the Local Children and Adult Safeguarding Boards to offer training sessions to 60 of the city’s hackney carriage, private hire drivers and operators.
The pilot project started as a result of the learning that came out of national investigations and reviews into Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), which highlighted the need to engage and train the taxi driver community on the topic of CSE, as well as looking at child and adult safeguarding.
Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities said: “Quite simply safeguarding is everyone’s business. We know that hackney carriage and private hire drivers are in a unique position to report behaviour that concerns them whether it involves a vulnerable child or an adult who may be being put under pressure to do things which make them feel uneasy, for example attend a nightclub, house party.”
Huw Isaac is a director and private hire driver with NeedaCab who has attended one of the Safeguarding workshops. He said: “Rotherham was without doubt a wake up call for the industry as a whole. Needacab’s philosophy has always been, ‘Feel Safe – Be Safe’ and we are wholeheartedly behind Plymouth City Council and their continuing efforts in this vital area.”
John Beaumont and Roy Hamilton are from the Plymouth Licenced Taxi Association (PLTA) said: “We found the course to be most enlightening and informative. It brought many subjects to the fore that although being aware of subconsciously, had not been given much thought. We now feel much better informed in how to deal with suspicions regarding children and vulnerable adults. This a well-balanced course that we see, in the fullness of time, being incorporated into the BTEC for all new Taxi Drivers.”
Independent chairman of the Plymouth’s Safeguarding Boards, Andy Bickley said: “Given the nature of their line of work we know that taxi drivers see a lot, more than people realise. That’s why this training is so important, as it is designed to give drivers the skills, and knowledge to be able to identify unacceptable behaviour and have the confidence to report it to the authorities. We want them to be our ‘eyes and ears’ for vulnerable passengers that may be at risk of abuse or exploitation.”
The next training sessions are in January and February 2016. To book your place please contact Taxi Licensing Team on 01752304141.