A partnership task force to check the compliance of taxi and private hire drivers took to the streets of central Norwich on the evening of Friday 3 December.
The exercise was carried out jointly between Norwich City Council, Norfolk Constabulary and South Norfolk and Broadland Councils to ensure the city’s travelling public are in safe hands.
Taxis and other private hire vehicles were inspected at a temporary static site on Rose Lane and by roving foot patrol teams around the surrounding area.
Around 10 per cent of the vehicles stopped required action to be taken to meet the Norwich City standard as set out in their license agreement. This included replacing bald tyres, broken seatbelts and fixing damaged bodywork.
Notices for unfit vehicles were issued on site along with details of when actions needed to be completed, all of which will be followed up by the licensing local authority in due course.
Safety in the late-night economy (drink spiking and vulnerability awareness training) was also reinforced with drivers during the stops.
Norwich City councillor Beth Jones, cabinet member for licensing and the night-time economy, said:
“This was an extremely important exercise to ensure we’re keeping everyone safe that travels in taxis and private hire vehicles around the city to and from our night-time venues.
“As we approach the busy Christmas party period it’s crucial that licensed drivers take responsibility for their vehicles by checking them regularly and adhering to their licence conditions.
“Thank you to all partners involved in the exercise. I look forward to hearing about similar exercises in future.”
PC Mike Stolworthy added:
“It is disappointing to see the number of vehicles with defects, which were stopped as part of this initiative.
“We work alongside our partners throughout the year on a number of road safety campaigns in order to raise awareness of the importance of checking that your vehicle complies to the correct safety standards.
“We continue to urge drivers to check their vehicles regularly for any type of defect in order to keep themselves and their passengers safe on the county’s roads.”
Councillor Judy Leggett, portfolio holder for Broadland District Council said: “The event was very worthwhile and highlighted the importance of ensuring that such checks are carried out on a regular basis. It’s a priority for the licensing authorities to ensure that the public are kept safe when they are using a licensed vehicle to take them home at the end of the night.”
Councillor Graham Minshull, portfolio holder for South Norfolk Council said: “When planning your journey home, always ensure that you use a properly licensed vehicle, licensed vehicles will display a licence plate on the rear and properly licensed driver. All drivers should have their licence badge clearly visible in the vehicle.”
Other licensing and police activity also took place during the evening which included, entertainment venue license checks and issuing advice on noise limits, arresting a drunk driver, and pulling over two vehicles with no insurance.
Partners will look to repeat the exercise in the future.