Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda item

Review of a Hackney Carriage Driver's Licence

Mr Arsalan Khan Maroofkhil - HCD127

Minutes:

The Licensing Officer, Phil Cooper, introduced the report regarding a review of Mr Arsalan Khan Maroofkhil‘s hackney carriage driver’s licence HCD 127. Mr Maroofkhil had held his taxi driver’s licence in Cheltenham since 2015 and it was due for renewal on 15 January 2018.

 

A complaint had been made against Mr Maroofkhil to the council’s licensing team. The complainant was interviewed and provided dashcam footage of the incident. The complaint concerned a stationary taxi that was parked on double yellow lines causing an obstruction in the road. As he passed the complainant spoke to the driver of the taxi about his parking and suggested he find somewhere better to park. The complainant alleged that the driver of the taxi was verbally abusive in reply. The Licensing Officer confirmed that no other complaints had been made against Mr Maroofkhil.  He explained that taxi drivers were covered by a code of good conduct and should avoid the use of bad language even when provoked.

 

The Licensing Officer played the dashcam footage of the incident supplied by the complainant.

 

Mr Maroofkhil was then invited to address the committee. He explained that he had been flagged down by a man in order to help an old lady with her shopping. He had parked on the pavement but had ensured that vehicles would be able to pass. He could not exactly remember what he had said to the driver of the van but had told him that he was waiting for the old lady to come out with her shopping and would then move.

 

In response to Members’ questions Mr Maroofkhil said he did not have a passenger when the car was parked. He was flagged down so stopped. The passenger did not hear what was said as she was in the shop at the time. Mr Maroofkhil was asked several times by Members as to whether, having seen and heard the dashcam footage, he remembered what he had said to the driver. He replied that he had been in a rush to move his car and could not remember what he had said.

 

Members were advised that they should consider on the balance of probabilitties as to whether Mr Maroofkhil had verbally abused the complainant. Upon request the Licensing Officer replayed the dashcam footage.

 

Members were then reminded by the Chair that they were there to determine whether they were satisfied that Mr Maroofkhil was a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney Carriage Driver’s Licence with the overriding consideration being the safety of the public.

A Member asked the Licensing Officer whether it would be appropriate to require Mr Maroofkhil to take a driving fitness test. The Licensing Officer stated that this would be an option had Mr Maroofkhil been driving at the time but the complaint concerned behaviour and language rather than his driving ability.

 

During the debate Members regretted that Mr Maroofkhil would not admit and apologise for swearing. They recognised that he must have said it as a reflex action and was a result of the circumstances he found himself in. Revoking his licence would be in their view disproportionate as this was not an issue of public safety. He had been compliant in being flagged down. However Members felt it appropriate to issue Mr Maroofkhil with a written warning which seemed to be a reasonable, proportionate thing to do. This would be kept on the driver’s record. The fact that the van driver had taken the time to report this to the Licensing Team and sign a witness statement suggested that his behaviour had not been appropriate.

 

A Member asked whether it would be appropriate to require Mr Maroofkhil to retake an assessment in relation to his behaviour with passengers as it was important to reinforce the standard of behaviour expected from taxi drivers licensed in the borough. The Licensing Officer said whilst there were established tests for determining whether drivers are fit and proper, such as a criminal record check, medical assessment, knowledge test, driving assessment and English proficiency test, there was no test for basic behaviour.

 

Members discussed and voted unanimously to amend 1.4.1 to include issuing a written warning to Mr Maroofkhil.

 

Upon a vote it was unanimous 5 for,0 against

 

RESOLVED THAT

 

Mr Arsalan Maroofkhil’s hackney carriage driver’s licence be continued with the addition of a strongly worded warning letter because the sub-committee was satisfied that Mr Maroofkhil was a fit and proper person to hold such a licence.

 

Supporting documents: