28 February 2019 - More than 600 taxi and private hire drivers have undertaken Basildon Council's safeguarding training sessions.

The first safeguarding training session took place in March last year and the final one took place earlier last month.

As a licensing authority, Basildon Council's primary role is to protect and ensure the safety and well-being of the public. It is now a condition of license renewal for drivers licensed by Basildon Council to have attended one of these sessions. For drivers who did not attend one of the session they will be required to sit and pass an online assessment.

In recent years, official reports into child sexual exploitation cases have made specific references to the role of taxi and private hire vehicle drivers, who may unwittingly transport victims or hold important information which could prevent and detect offending.

Topics covered on the courses included:

  • Different ways in which children and adults can be exploited, by whom, and what to look out for - this covered Child Sexual Exploitation, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, and the Prevent agenda (grooming to support extremism)
  • Responsibilities of licensed drivers
  • What is meant by safeguarding and how to spot the different signs of abuse
  • What to do if they have concerns.

All attendees were provided with a booklet which covers all of the above and also provides details of how to make a referral and support lines for further advice/information.

Councillor Peter Holliman, Chairman of the Licensing Committee, said: "Taxi and private hire drivers have a crucial role to play as the eyes and ears of our community.

"When drivers are party to information which gives them cause for concern, it is vital that they know the appropriate steps to ensure this is passed to the relevant authorities.

"By providing mandatory safeguarding training, Basildon Council is demonstrating that it takes its duty to protect the public seriously and I would like to thank all the drivers who took part in the training."