In a recent incident, an Indian-born taxi driver who has lived in the UK for 32 years, and holds a British passport, has been asked to undergo a foreign criminal record check as part of a licence application. 57-year-old Deepak Amar, who holds a private hire licence from Nottingham City Council, was informed of the bizarre requirement when applying for a hackney carriage and a private hire licence from Gedling Borough Council.
Despite holding a British passport since 1986 and submitting all required documents including a DVLA check and CRB check, Mr Amar was asked to produce a criminal background check from India in order to be considered as a “fit and proper person” to hold the licence.
An infuriated Mr Amar said: “I am being treated as a criminal. It seems crazy to ask for a reference from 32 years ago. I could obtain the reference, but I am not doing it as a matter of principle. I am no longer interested in getting this licence. I want nothing to do with this council.”
Gelding Borough Council responded by stating this was standard procedure for anyone who had lived in a foreign country for more than six months since the age of 18. “I don’t think we are being unreasonable,” said Kevin Nealon, the council’s community protection and pollution control manager.
Secretary of the Association of Nottinghamshire Private Hire Operators and Drivers, Ray Butterworth, said: “We support reasonable requests of background checks where there is a point in going ahead but I don’t think there is in this case and I don’t think it’s reasonable. I’ve known Deepak for more than ten years. He is a gentleman of the trade, who would go to the end of the earth to help anybody. For him to be treated like this is pretty unsatisfactory.”