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Criminals licensed to drive taxis

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An investigation has revealed that 209 people with previous convictions have been granted taxi driver licences over the past three years in West Midlands.

The BBC said that a series of Freedom of Information requests to councils and police authorities across the region showed that criminals with convictions for offences including indecent assault and drug dealing are issued licence to drive the vehicles.

According to the BBC, in Wolverhampton a man who has carried out more than 30 offences between 1985 and 2005 has been granted a taxi driver licence in 2006.

A spokesman for Wolverhampton City Council confirmed that the council did not receive any complaints about the driver after being issued licence in 2006.

The investigation also found that there are several drivers in Worcester with criminal convictions.

A spokesman for Worcester council's licensing committee said while issuing the licences members followed guidelines provided by the Metropolitan Police and by the Lord Chief Justice.

"The third criteria is whether we would allow our daughter, if (we) had one, to get in the cab," he added.

© Press Association 2009