December 18, 2014
Leeds City Council bosses are set to discuss the introduction of child safeguarding training for hackney and private hire taxi drivers.
The announcement was made as a result of an independent inquiry that revealed there are “significant concerns” that individuals and groups involved in child sexual exploitation (CSE) are using private hire cars and hackneys to move them from city to city.
Leeds Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) believes that taxi drivers are in a position to assist in protecting the young people of the city and hopes that the training will raise awareness of CSE and teach the basic warning signs to look out for.
If given the ok, the training will roll out across the city from February 2015. Taxi drivers will be given advice on how to identify and deal with potential predators as well as information as to who is best to communicate the intelligence to.
“An extremely complex issue”
Jane Held, independent chair of the LSCB, said: “Child sexual exploitation is an extremely complex issue which means that it’s not a straightforward challenge to address or one that can be dealt with quickly or by a single agency. This is why, in Leeds we have a strong partnership approach, led through the LSCB.
“Perpetrators will often go to extremes to commit these offences so it’s vital that we consider all avenues to best protect those who may be at risk.
“As part of our on-going review into safeguarding controls in taxi and private hire licensing we are updating the safeguarding training currently provided to licenced operators, drivers and taxi escorts.
“In conjunction with the LSCB a safeguarding awareness course is being developed to help individuals identify and have greater awareness of the issues of CSE and trafficking.
“The training will also help drivers and operators develop their personal skills when dealing with passengers and ensure that drivers know exactly what to do if they have a concern about what they may see or hear in the course of their work. “