North Devon Council has received funding from the Home Office under the fourth cycle of its Safer Streets Fund to provide training for its taxi and private hire drivers through a safeguarding awareness course.
The course will focus specifically on the protection of children and vulnerable adults and will be taught by Karen Anderson, a former Devon and Cornwall police officer with the Public Protection Service.
It has been made compulsory for all licensed private taxi and hire drivers in the district to attend the training and the council has proposed to have all licensed drivers take the course early next year.
Katy Nicholls, public protection officer at North Devon Council, says: “Taxi drivers and private hire drivers may unwittingly become aware of serious protection concerns through their work. With the aim of ensuring that drivers with a license and customers are properly protected, this training ensures that drivers are alert to the signs of a problem and know what to do if they have a problem.
Chair of North Devon Council’s Licensing and Community Safety Committee, Cllr Louisa York says: “Through their work, taxis and private drivers are an integral part of the community. Delivering this training will provide drivers with the information they may need to identify and report protection issues. It’s a simple message, if you see something, say something. We believe that by doing this, drivers can play a vital role in the backup process.”
Ongoing training includes:
- Understand what protection is and your responsibilities
- Raising awareness of different forms of exploitation, including human trafficking, child sexual exploitation and modern slavery
- Recognize the signs of exploitation and abuse
- Know who to contact if you suspect a backup problem
- The district’s taxi and VTC drivers were contacted directly by the town hall.
You will find more information about the training on line.