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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 17 September 2007

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Cabbies Face Stricter Checks

PEOPLE applying to be taxi drivers in Liverpool are to face more rigorous checks on their background in the future.  And those with criminal convictions will have to have to prove their rehabilitation for a longer period before they will be considered for a licence.

Last week's meeting of the Licensing Committee agreed to amend the guidelines when assessing applications. Among the main changes agreed are:-

· Applicants will have to have had no convictions for five to seven years as opposed to three to five years currently.

· Any applicant with five or more convictions will generally not be granted a licence although they will have the opportunity to have their application considered by the committee. At present applicants can have an unlimited number of convictions provided the most recent was over three years old.

· It will be emphasised to applicants they must disclose convictions and not rely on disclosure by the Criminal Records Bureau.

The committee also agreed to a request by the Liverpool Safeguarding Board, a joint forum for agreeing how services and professional groups should co-operate to safeguard children in Liverpool; that they should be allowed to make comments on the suitability of new applicants.  All applicants for taxicab and private hire licences are subjected to a check by the Criminal Records Bureau and the relevant legislation says they shall only be granted a licence if councils are satisfied “they are a fit and proper person”.

Cllr Malcolm Kelly, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said:- “We adopted the guidelines 15 years ago and there is a feeling that it is time we reviewed them.  At the time when they were introduced we went for the minimum timescales recommended after a conviction – now we are looking at the upper levels suggested. This is not because of the experiences we have had with applications but we want to be absolutely sure that the public are being safeguarded as thoroughly as possible.

The taxi trade is in support of these new guidelines which they recognise are fair and responsible.  I would emphasise that we will treat each application on its merits and we are not seeking to stop anybody who may have had minor convictions some time ago from becoming a taxi driver. What we are doing is providing the level of safety that the public and taxi trade would want us to do.”

LETTER TO THE EDITOR:- "My Air Conditioning Nightmare...!"

"I am just one of 10 million people in the UK who suffer from Raynaud's, a condition in which the blood supply to the extremities is temporarily restricted due to exposure to cold temperatures or more specifically to any slight change in temperature. This means that for most of the year I need to take precautions by wrapping up warmly and use portable heating aids. This is in order to prevent my hands changing colour dramatically because of the reduced blood flow which can result in my fingers becoming extremely painful and developing into gangrenous ulcers.

In the last few years Air Conditioning in public places has become unbearable.

Attending meetings, eating in restaurants, visiting cinemas and worst of all shopping in supermarkets has become a nightmare. I only have to step into the frozen food section, even with gloves on and my hands go numb with cold. The pain is so intense from the cold air flowing around that my food shopping is now minimised, as I simply can’t cope.

The fact that the cold affects the fingers so dramatically means that it is almost impossible to open a purse and handle money or credit cards.

Why do we have to have this constant flow of chilly air everywhere?

I know it is expensive to run and uses energy which the planet could well do without.

I realise that not everyone wants to be warm but in the UK's climate it is not as if we need to go indoors to cool down.

Surely there could be a happy medium.

I am sure there must be thousands of your readers who agree with the fact that air conditioning can be a most unpleasant intrusion into daily life which we could well do without."
   Anne H Mawdsley MBE

If anyone has any comments on this topic or would like to find out more about Raynaud’s, please either email.

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