Thank you for your recent email enquiring about the work of the licensing enforcement team in Birmingham. I apologise for the delay in responding.The enforcement team consists 14 officers,including a principal officer and team manager. Two officers are office based and deal with routine enquiries, accident notifications and the administration of Simple Cautions.
The remaining officers are field officers. We also have a police officer seconded to the team.As a team we enforce general licensing requirements,(such as the Licensing Act, Gambling Act, Street Collections, Door to Door collections , Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act relating to sex establishments, and Birmingham City Council Act which controls premises offering massage or other special treatments), and the requirements for hackney carriages and private hire.We currently have 1,439 licensed hackney carriage drivers and 6,043 licensed private hire drivers.
We also have 1,453 licensed hackney carriage vehicles and 5,550 licensed private hire vehicles.The majority of our enforcement operations involving private hire or hackney carriages are carried out with the cooperation of the police, either via the seconded officer or through partnership working with neighbourhood officers or traffic officers. The police officers in the majority of these activities with neighbourhood or traffic officers are not funded by the licensing service, although we have a small fund which will allow us to buy in additional police resources for larger operations.
Enforcement Officers are required to work one evening / late shift per week between 8pm and 2am. They may also be required to work one weekend shift per month for which they will receive overtime payments.
As far as complaints are concerned , this year these can be broken down asfollows:
HACKNEY CARRIAGEPRIVATE HIRE
BREACH OF CONDITIONS/LEGISLATION48BREACH OF CONDITIONS/LEGISLATION375
LATE ARRIVAL LATE ARRIVAL1
UNLICENSED VEHICLE/DRIVER1UNLICENSED VEHICLE/DRIVER47
VEHICLE CONDITION VEHICLE CONDITION10
REQUEST FOR INFORMATION REQUEST FOR INFORMATION231
NON SMOKING1NON SMOKING
The department is financed almost exclusively from fees, although I understand there is a small grant from the Centre which acts as a buffer.
Plying exercises are conducted in one of two ways.The first is where officers will approach vehicles suspected of plying for hire and request a journey. If the driver agrees to the journey and a fare agreed the officers will enter the vehicle and the journey will commence. Along the way the vehicle will be intercepted by a traffic police officer and brought to a stop site where the driver will be informed that his passengers are officers and he will be cautioned and reported for offence of plying for hire and driving without valid insurance.
The alternate method is used where we do not have police support. In this case officers will approach a driver and request a journey. If the driver agrees to take the officers and a fare is agreed the officers will enter the vehicle but will caution and report the driver for the offence of plying for hire only.As far as officers being covered by insurance, the view of Birmingham City Council is that as the officers are undertaking work activities they are covered by the councils employers liability insurance. We do however risk assess each operation and ensure that risks to officers safety is as low as reasonably practicable, in line with legal requirements.I hope this answers your enquiry. If you would like to discuss the issues further please do not hesitate to contact me.Kindest regardsGraeme BlakeyLicensing Enforcement Team ManagerBirmingham City Council