Rugby taxi drivers join fight against child sex abuse - The Rugby Observer

Rugby taxi drivers join fight against child sex abuse

Rugby Editorial 29th Jun, 2017   0

TAXI drivers in Rugby have joined the fight against child sex abuse.

All taxi and private hire drivers in the town will be trained to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation, after the move was approved by Rugby Borough Council’s (RBC) cabinet.

Almost 95 per cent of Rugby drivers had already volunteered for the training under a pilot scheme with charity Barnado’s – and 80 per cent of them gave the course positive feedback.

Now the remaining 41 drivers – and all new applicants – will have to complete the training as a requirement of holding a licence.

Councillors heard that poor monitoring of taxi and private hire drivers in Rotherham contributed to the ease with which abusers were able to exploit children there.

An RBC spokesman said: “While there is good communication in Rugby between the council’s licensing team and the police, with some joint operations targeting taxis, the authorities cannot monitor all the time and it is essential that taxi drivers are trained to recognise the signs of child sexual exploitation themselves.

“If drivers are trained to look for and recognise the signs of potential abuse and know where to report their concerns, they can help stop vulnerable children and young people being exploited.”

The Council’s environment and public realm spokeswoman Coun Lisa Parker added: “Taxi and private hire drivers are often alone with vulnerable young people and are well placed to provide help or support when they spot something that doesn’t feel right.

“I know that the voluntary training has already made a difference, and it is right to make it compulsory.

“It is a credit to the trade that nearly all of the licensed drivers in Rugby have already chosen to attend.”

Anyone who has a concern about a child or young person can call Warwickshire County Council children’s team on (01926) 410410.

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