Cleveland Police officers and colleagues from local councils across Cleveland have been working together to carry out checks on taxis and private hire vehicles to ensure that they are roadworthy and safe for passengers.
The operations are carried out across the Cleveland area throughout the year, in conjunction with the four local authorities.
On Friday 15th December, the operation focussed on Stockton.
Road’s policing officers and council licensing officers stop licensed vehicles to ensure that they have the relevant licence and ensuring that the vehicles are fit to be on the road and therefore safe for passengers.
Of the seven taxis inspected, two were issued notices for out-of-date fire extinguishers, one received a suspension notice for a bald tyre and one was issued with a motive for having no rear number plate.
During the ongoing Christmas drink and drug drive campaign, officers are encouraging those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs not to get behind the wheel and to use alternative transport, such as taxis, private hire vehicles, buses or trains.
Sergeant Mark Kewley said: “Ensuring that people are safe on our roads is one of our priorities in the roads policing unit and therefore it is really important for the protection of everyone using the road networks to make sure that all vehicles are safe enough to be on the road.
“We don’t want anyone’s lives to be put at risk unnecessarily and throughout the year we carry out checks on licensed vehicles along with other vehicles to ensure that they’re road worthy, meet safety standards and have the necessary licences in place.
“We have recently launched our Christmas drink and drug driving campaign, where we are encouraging people to use alternative forms of transport, such as taxis, rather than get behind the wheel whilst under the influence.
“Licensed vehicle owners and operators should regularly check their vehicles to ensure they are a safe mode of transport for passengers to use. We will continue working closely with our colleagues across the local councils to ensure that we keep people as safe as we possibly can.
Councillor Norma Stephenson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Services, said: “It’s really important that private hire vehicles and taxis are properly licensed by the Council because it’s the only way we can be certain that driver safety checks have been carried out and that their vehicles are free from any dangerous defects.
“We have a reputable taxi trade across the Borough and work closely with the police to ensure that drivers fulfil their legal obligations. The majority of drivers and vehicles licensed with the Council are safe and compliant thanks to our robust policy and proactive work with our trade, but in the very small number of checks where noncompliance is found, we will take swift action to protect the public. Drivers who may be tempted to operate illegally should be warned they face tough penalties and the public should be aware journeys undertaken by an unlicensed driver or vehicle will also not be insured.”