Proper background checks on city taxi drivers from overseas are being carried out, insists Chelmsford City Council - despite claims from the industry to the contrary.
Vetting concerns over foreign drivers were raised a year ago by Ian Vernon, who chaired the Chelmsford Taxi Association from 2011 until August this year.
Mr Vernon still fears the DBS checks on foreign nationals are less stringent than those on British citizens applying to be drivers.
He says there are concerns among drivers that Chelmsford City Council has no way of determining whether an applicant has a criminal record or previous driving convictions, especially if they come from a country with fewer checking procedures in place.
He told the Essex Chronicle: “A couple of years back we had an influx of foreign drivers coming into the trade, a lot from the Middle East. We in the trade assumed that because we were having a check, everyone else was.
‘“But my understanding is the only way to keep a check on for-eign nationals is to go back to the country of origin and get a letter of conformity. There is concern over how authentic those documents are. It is just a piece of paper - how does one prove it is legitimate?
“Does it have a stamp or seal to give the authorities the confidence the document is accurate?”
But a spokesman for Chelmsford City Council dismissed the concerns, revealing that all applicants for licences must provide an enhanced DBS certificate.
He said: “Additionally, applicants who have lived outside the UK for a period of more than six months within the last five years must also supply a Certificate of Good Conduct.
“This must be an extract from the judicial record or equivalent document issued by a competent judicial or administrative authority for the relevant non-UK country. The document must include any convictions re-corded against the individual or confirm their ‘good conduct’ during their time in the non-UK country.”