passengers from grabbing the hammer and engaging in an alcohol fuelled attack on the driver which to them seems a perfectly good idea at the time!? Well the answer to this is clearly nothing as the good old local authority has potentially availed the intoxicated passenger(s) with a DEADLY weapon!

You will see in the video demonstrations, what these hammers are capable of with just one blow. The effect on a driver’s head would at worst be death, severe brain trauma or at the very least, life changing injuries. It is of course unacceptable for the same licensing officers or councillors to then say: “...oh I never thought that would happen...”, or “...unintended conse- quences...’” or even their perennial favourite: “...lessons will be learnt...”!

I could be extremely churlish here and question whether if the same licensing officers or councillors think this is such a good idea then why not also provide a set of chef’s knives and per- haps a gun in the passenger compartment as well?

We really are once again driving around in the ‘Cul de sac of madness’ here, aren’t we? As this is a prime example of inexperienced people with no profession expertise, making ill- conceived and badly thought out requirements and provisions that they then impose upon the experienced licence holders whom they license. Far from saving lives, these elements of madness will actually endanger them!

I hope you can now truly understand my professional contempt for these dangerous decisions that are normally perpetuated by arrogance.

This is of course merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of bad decisions made by local authorities that will go onto adverse- ly affect the safe operation of a licensed trade in their geographical area.

I would therefore ask that all local authorities make it their belated New Year’s Resolution to listen to and take notice of, representations from the licensed trade in their area and think very hard about who has the experience in the safe operation of cabs locally. Time and again, the answer to this question is not the councillors or the licensing officers!

Whilst we’re on this subject, it would be remiss of me to not mention ‘consultation at the local level’. I would implore all authorities to PROPERLY consult with their local licensed trade and what’s more to take notice of their recommenda- tions and in some cases, their warnings. Good consultation should not merely consist of a local authority simply ‘going through the motions’ and paying lip service in order to just comply with their obligations to consult.

If any local authority licensing officer or councillor believes to the contrary, then I have but one message for you and it comes from the DfT:


...Licensing requirements which are unduly stringent will tend unreasonably to restrict the supply of taxi and PHV services, by putting up the cost of operation or otherwise restricting entry to the trade. Local licensing authorities should recognise that too restrictive an approach can work against the public interest – and can, indeed, have safety implications.

“For example, it is clearly important that somebody using a taxi or PHV to go home alone late at night should be confident that the driver does not have a criminal record for assault and that the vehicle is safe. But on the other hand, if the supply of taxis or PHVs has been unduly constrained by onerous licensing conditions, then that person’s safety might be put at risk by having to wait on late-night streets for a taxi or PHV to arrive; he or she might even be tempted to enter an unlicensed vehicle with an unlicensed driver illegally plying for hire.

“Local licensing authorities will, therefore, want to be sure that each of their various licensing requirements is in proportion to the risk it aims to address; or, to put it another way, whether the cost of a requirement in terms of its effect on the availability of transport to the public is at least matched by the benefit to the public, for example through increased safety...”

Cue the music and for this article it couldn’t really be anything else other than: ‘If I Had A Hammer’ by Trini Lopez...

Drive carefully and above all, stay well...

Article supplied by: Sean Ridley Secretary Unite the Union South East Region (Cab Section) 71

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