DBS Checks For Taxi Drivers And Chauffeurs
Job opportunities for driving private hire cabs have grown over the past ten years. The rise of Uber and Lyft has made it easier than ever for people to obtain paid work driving their own minicab.
To get a licence to drive a minicab or act as a chauffeur you need to apply through the Public Carriage Office (PCO). One of the PCOs requirements is a DBS check before they issue a licence to a driver. This is because drivers will be working directly with people that potentially belong to vulnerable groups.
In this article, we’ll look at the level of DBS check that PCO drivers need to get and how to get it.
What level of DBS check do PCO drivers need?
In order to become PCO-licenced, drivers need to complete an enhanced DBS check. The requirement for all cab and taxi drivers to complete an enhanced DBS check became law in 2012. Prior to this, only drivers that transported children or vulnerable adults were required by law to undertake an enhanced DBS check.
An enhanced DBS check searches through an individual’s criminal record and police notes. Information that is revealed includes:
- Unspent and spent convictions
- Warnings and reprimands
- Other relevant information stored on the police national computer (PNC).
The requirement for Uber, Lyft, and PCO drivers to get an enhanced DBS certificate makes sense when you consider that they will often be in close, one-to-one contact with members of the public. It is essential that there are checks in place to make sure that drivers have a good character and won’t pose a risk to vulnerable groups.
Applying for an enhanced DBS check to become a PCO driver
If you want to register with the PCO and obtain a PCO driver licence, you first need to get an enhanced DBS check. Normally, the only people that can apply for an enhanced DBS check are employers or organisations that recruit people. In other words, an individual cannot apply for an enhanced DBS themselves, only a basic check.
For PCO licensing it is slightly different, as some minicab and private hire drivers are self employed. In this case, the driver can approach the local council to get a DBS application for taxi drivers, which can then be verified by an employer or platform, if required.
In any case, the DBS application can be filled in online and submitted directly over the internet. The driver simply fills in the form accurately through an online portal, submits it, and then awaits the results by email. Results can be returned generally in as little time as 48 hours.
Depending on the employer or platform that the driver is working for, they may be required to renew their enhanced DBS check once every 2 to 3 years.
What is the timeframe for an enhanced DBS check?
The timeframe for applying and getting DBS check results depends on whether it is done online or by post.
Applying by post usually takes two weeks or longer. It can often take much longer than this as it is much easier to make mistakes when filling out a form by hand.
Applying online is much faster, with results often emailed within 48 hours. The online application form will automatically highlight some errors or missed information, making it less likely that the application will be delayed.
Sometimes enhanced DBS checks can be delayed while the DBS liaise with local police forces, especially if you have moved addresses several times in recent years or have changed your name more than once.
Will criminal prosecutions or convictions prevent a PCO licence from being issued?
The answer to this question depends on the nature and severity of the crime or offence. The enhanced DBS check returns details of all offences that result in some kind of prosecution, even warnings and cautions. If somebody has a caution dating back several years for a minor offence it’s unlikely that the PCO would block the licence from being issued.
In general, the PCO will take in to consideration the following factors:
- Severity of the crime
- Circumstances surrounding the offence
- Time elapsed with good behaviour since the conviction
- Number of offences
- Sentence handed down by the court
- Nature of the offence
- Notes on the applicant held on the PNC
The main offences that would bar someone from being eligible to gain a PCO licence are sexual or violent offences.
Applicants with drink driving charges may be granted a licence if enough time has elapsed since the prosecution and they have shown good character since.
Other criteria for a PCO licence
As well as applying for an enhanced DBS check, drivers must also be aged 21 years or more and must have a full UK drivers licence that is more than 3 years old.
If you have any queries regarding Enhanced DBS Checks contact us and we can further assist you.