Somerset taxi driver loses licence after driving while under the influence of drugs
By Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter
20th Nov 2022 | Local News
A Somerset taxi driver has had his license revoked after driving while under the influence of cannabis with passengers on board.
The driver, known only as Driver X, came to the attention of Avon and Somerset police in late-September after being reported driving under the influence of cannabis while he had passengers in his taxi.
Sedgemoor District Council's licensing team chose to revoke Driver X's Hackney carriage licence on 12 October, on the basis that this was his second similar offence within a six-month period.
While the police's investigation remains ongoing, the council's licensing panel has now confirmed this revocation, meaning Driver X will no longer be able to operate as a taxi driver in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Cheddar, Highbridge or any of the surrounding villages.
The council's licensing panel met in confidential session on November 9, with its decision being subsequently published on the council's official website.
The police disclosed information to the council's licensing team using what is known as a 'common law disclosure' – where information is shared between public bodies in order to protect the public, even where formal charges have not yet been brought.
Under the council's policies, only a "fit and proper person" may hold a taxi or Hackney carriage licence, with the public's safety being a very high priority.
The police stated that they encountered Driver X on September 25, where he was alleged to have been driving under the influence of cannabis with fare-paying customers on board.
This was the second time Driver X had been accused of this behaviour, following an earlier report of driving under the influence of cannabis in May, for which he was subsequently charged by police.
Driver X had disclosed the May allegation to the council's licensing team and had been advised that "any further incidents or allegations of a similar nature would mean immediate revocation" of his licence.
A council spokesman said: "The panel acknowledged that neither case against Driver X was concluded.
"However, the allegations were most serious and both were alleged to have taken place while Driver X was driving their Hackney carriage.
"We and the public expect the highest standards of behaviour and integrity of those who are licensed to drive taxis.
"While neither case had reached a conclusion, we were advised that Driver X had been charged for driving with well over double the limit for cannabis in respect of the May offence.
"While neither case was concluded, it was apparent that Driver X was driving with cannabis in their system, and such behaviour fell well below the test for a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney driver's licence, and it was to be seen as to whether those actions resulted in a criminal conviction in the future.
"In the interests of public safety, Driver X's Hackney carriage driver's licence shall remain revoked."