Rapists, pedophiles and murderers are applying to be taxi drivers in Greater Manchester, with one in five applications showing previous convictions. Statistics have revealed that among those to be handed licenses by councils are drivers with previous convictions of violence, drug dealing and stealing cars.
The data was gathered by the Manchester Evening News through data from the Disclosure and Barring Service. The records show people applying for taxi licenses included a driver who had a previous conviction for a murder in Stockport and a rape conviction in Stockport and Rochdale.
Other drivers have been found to have convictions for possessing indecent pictures of children, gross indecency with a boy under 16 in Bolton, gross indecency with a child in Stockport, and sex with a girl under the age of 13 in Rochdale.
The data revealed that across Greater Manchester out of the people who were trying to become taxi drivers, 34 held convictions for indecent assault on women aged 16 and over, 22 indecent assaults on girls aged under 14 and one on a boy aged under 16. Additionally, there were four convictions for kidnapping across the region and seven convictions for manslaughter.
Deadly taxi drivers
Equally worrying, some drivers held convictions for causing death by dangerous driving in Manchester and Wigan, causing death by careless driving in Bolton, and causing death by driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured. There had been 89 convictions for dangerous driving across Greater Manchester.
Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that six drivers in Manchester, nine in Trafford and 69 in Oldham were issued a taxi license despite criminal convictions between November 2014 and October 2015. In Trafford, drivers were found to have previous convictions for wounding and burglary. In Oldham licenses were obtained by drivers who had been convicted of dangerous driving, causing grievous bodily harm, taking vehicles without consent, as well as supplying heroin.
Manchester City Council's website says that, "Applicants should have no relevant convictions or been determined by the Licensing and Appeals Committee to be a fit and proper person." Anyone applying for a private hire permit, which permits them to drive taxis, must declare all of their criminal convictions, charges and if they are under investigation for any other criminal matter.