Training for cabbies on child sex exploitation awareness

Burnley Borough Council is set to introduce training to raise child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness among taxi drivers.

The council is recommended to incorporate CSE training as a requirement for all Hackney carriage (black cab) and private hire drivers licensed in the borough.

The council’s principal licensing officer Peter Henderson said: “Everyone has a role to play in tackling child exploitation.

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“Taxi drivers can find themselves in situations where they are with young people who could be in a vulnerable state or who could be in need of help.

“We want all our drivers and operators to be better informed about the issue of child exploitation and people trafficking and be able to act in a positive way if necessary.

“This is about supporting the wider work that the police and other agencies are doing to protect vulnerable young people. It’s about introducing ‘best practice’ and giving drivers and operators some basic knowledge and information so that, if a situation does arise, they know how to deal with it.”

The course will be delivered by safeguarding professionals at Burnley College who worked with specialist officers from Lancashire Police. Training is expected to take around two hours to complete.

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The report to the licensing committee highlights the inquiry into the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal which found that “there is nowhere more important than in taxi licensing where sometimes vulnerable people are unaccompanied in a car with a stranger.”

If agreed, the new rules would mean all existing drivers who complete a council-approved awareness course before the end of this year could so without any cost to them.

Any new driver or operator licence applicants would have to cover the £15 cost themselves.