A Brighton and Hove taxi driver has been suspended over allegations of a sexual assault involving “a young female”.
Details of the suspension were shared with the Brighton and Hove Taxi Trade Forum by Brighton and Hove City Council hackney carriage officer Martin Seymour.
The council has since declined to say where and when the assault took place, although the driver’s licence was suspended between Thursday 30 June and Wednesday 20 July.
It was not clear whether the driver was licensed to drive taxis, private hire vehicles or both. He is still able to drive a private car – just not for hire.
It was also unclear what age the victim was, the nature of the assault and whether she was known to the driver.
Claims of sexual assaults by Uber drivers was one of the concerns raised by the trade locally when objecting to the phone app-based operator.
The council declined to give any further information, saying that it was an active case and that it was with Sussex Police.
The police were unable to say whether the driver had been interviewed or arrested in relation to the allegations.
At the Taxi Trade Forum Mr Seymour said that since the start of March two drivers had had their licences suspended pending investigations by the police. The council did not say what the allegations involved.
Two other drivers had their licences suspended on “conduct grounds”, one was suspended because of drug use. And, since the start of last month, one driver had been given a warning for having a previous conviction for drink driving.
Mr Seymour added that one application for a licence was refused because of convictions and cautions relating to drug dealing.
When the suspensions were detailed at a meeting of the council’s Licensing Committee, Councillor Dee Simson said that it gave her cause for grave concern.
They involved some of the worst instances of unacceptable behaviour by drivers that had ever been brought before the committee, she said.
Mr Seymour said that the driver who was suspended over drug use had been the person who notified the council although notification had also been received from social services who had also had involvement with the driver’s household.
He said that the drug dealing convictions and cautions had been had been disclosed by the applicant on a disclosure form.
Mr Seymour told the Taxi Trade Forum that councillors on the Licensing Committee were concerned about the behaviour of some drivers who they said had been rude and abusive.
They had also raised concerns about illegal ranks in particular in Church Street and King’s Road. The forum indicated that more enforcement would help to improve the situation.