Renewal of a Hackney Carriage Driver's Licence - Mr Kevin Gamble - HCD002
Mr Kevin Gamble HCD002
Please note Councillor Parsons left the meeting prior to this report.
The Chair explained the process to the applicant.
The Senior Licensing Officer explained that the applicant put in his application to renew his licence on 4th February 2020 and has a 2 month grace period to complete the process. The issues were that the applicant has 9 points on his licence that had not been declared within the required time scale (the time scale is within 7 days of the points being awarded) and he did not fully declare his points on renewal.
The options to the Committee were given as follows :
- Grant the application for a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence with no further action as he remains to be a fit and proper person
- Grant the application for a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence as he remains to be a fit and proper person but that he be issued with a formal written warning
- Refuse the application for a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence as he is no longer deemed to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence.
It was explained that if the application is refused then there is a right of appeal to the Magistrates Court.
It was also stated that the applicant was not a new driver and does have experience and should know the process. The minutes of the meeting in 2010 (when the applicant) was last in front of the committee were circulated but the Senior Licensing Officer re-iterated that this was an historic case that was decided at the Magistrates Court and that Members are unable to go behind that decision
The floor was then open to Members to ask for further information from the Senior Licensing Officer. The following points were raised:
- The reason for the applicant’s points and Members were directed to the reasons outlined in the report.
- The Chair clarified that the actions that the Committee could take were on page 45 item 307 of the agenda.
The applicant was then asked if he had any further questions for the Senior Licensing Officer – he confirmed that he didn’t and the Chair then gave him the opportunity to make his case.
The applicant then explained the following:
- That as a taxi driver most of his work was on airport runs.
- He stated that if his licence is not renewed then it would cause severe financial hardship to himself and his wife, both their cars are on finance and would have to go back then as his wife is a carer she will not be able to work.
- He stated that he had forgotten about the first points he was awarded and couldn’t remember where he got them.
- The second points were from a trip back from Wolverhampton with his wife and the third ones were from a trip from Oldham – both were in average speed areas where the average speed was 50 mph. On neither occasion did he have a customer.
The Members were then given the opportunity to question the applicant. The Chair also confirmed that the committee was not there to re-try the applicant for his previous offences.
The following issues were raised by Members with the applicant:
- Why didn’t you report the points when you were awarded them?
- Has the policy changed since the previous time the applicant was taken to committee in 2010
- If the applicant had been a driver sine 2004 why was he not aware that he needed to be declaring his points?
- All offences are speeding offences and we could all be guilty of going over 50mph.
- As these are fixed penalty offences has the applicant had to do a speed awareness course and does his vehicle have cruise control or a speed limiter.
- Concern was raised that whereas the applicant hasn’t had any accidents there seems to be a pattern in his behaviour.
- It was pointed out to the applicant that he had 9 points in October and had they been bought to the committee then they could have revoked his licence but now they have to decide if they can refuse to renew.
The applicant responded the he thought he had to declare his points on application for renewal, the applicant also stated that he had a problem with the online form as he was not computer literate he could only manage to enter one lot of points. The applicant confirmed that he had already been on a speed awareness course and that he did not have cruise control or a speed limiter in his vehicle. He stated that he had no excuses and that he should have been more aware of the speed limits. Since then he has been much more aware of the speed limits.
The matter then went to debate:
- One Member stated that the issue to decide was would you be happy to have a family member go in his car? Is he a right and proper person to have a licence? Does not reporting the points mean that he is unsafe? Re-iterated that Members are not there to punish but did point out that another 3 points and the applicant could lose his licence altogether.
- One Member questioned if a waning letter was issued would a breach of the conditions mean that he would lose his licence immediately. One Legal confirmed that this would not be the case.
- One Member raised that failure to notify does not make him a bad person but did have a problem in that the applicant should have noticed the temporary speed signs as the implications of going above 50mph on a motorway could be significant.
- The point was raised by another Member that not declaring the points could show a lack of honesty on the applicants part.
- Lack of awareness was an issue too, why hadn’t the applicant noticed that he was in an average speed area?
- One Member raised that the average speed limiter on a motorway is there for a reason: to protect the work force, this means there could be narrower lanes and the safety of the work force becomes an issue. It was also stated that as the applicant had previously been to the Committee and eventually the Magistrates court they were very surprised that the applicant had forgotten the process.
- The question was raised regarding the cost of the driving test that the applicant would have to take if that was what was decided. The Senior Licensing Officer confirmed that the cost would be approx. £100 for the Diamond Driving Test that the applicant would have to take.
- It was raised that perhaps the applicant taking the test would force him to break the pattern that he seems to be in.
- One member stated that one set of points were due to be removed from the applicants licence in approximately 2 weeks time.
- During the period between 2010 and now the applicant would have had to apply several times, were his points status checked during that time? The Senior Licensing Officer confirmed that they would have been.
The applicant was then asked by the Chair if he had anything further to add.
He re-iterated his financial situation and said that he had taken everything on board and was now much more aware of his speed.
The Chair then went to a vote:
1.4.1 – Grant the application for a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence with no further action as he remains a fit and proper person.
0 in favour
1.4.2 – Grant the application for a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence as he remains to be a fit and proper person but that he be issued with a written warning.
0 in favour
An amendment to 1.4.2 was proposed as follows – Grant the application for a Hackney Carriage driver’s licence as he remains to be a fit and proper person but that he be issued with a written warning. The applicants grant will be subject to the applicant completing and passing a Diamond -enhanced drivers test within 2 months of the committee decision.
7 in favour
The applicant was then advised that until he passes the test he would not be able to drive. He was also advised that he could take the test outside Gloucestershire. The applicant was reminded that he should contact Licensing immediately by email should he receive points again.