Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) is looking at how practical it would be to obtain DBS checks from foreign authorities for taxi drivers in the borough.

A DBS check is a way for employers check criminal records as well as whether a person is suitable to work with children or vulnerable adults.

In November 2023 BFC approved new rules which meant that any driver that has spent more than three months outside of the UK since the age of 10 must obtain a ‘certificate of good conduct’ from the foreign authority.

Since this announcement, the BF Hackney Taxi Drivers association said it was concerned about the 'potential discrimination' caused by the policy change.

This rule applied not only to new applicants, but current drivers who had already completed a full DBS check under old rules, looking to renew their licence. Existing drivers must renew their DBS check every three years.

The DBS service they use is only able check the criminal history of an applicant within the United Kingdom.

Following this, speaking to PHTM news publication, chairman of BF hackney association Manoj Lacximicanta said that Bracknell members were ‘unhappy’ with the new rules.

He told the news outlet in June: “Many Hackney drivers, belonging to ethnic minorities have raised concerns of potential discrimination with this policy and are worried about meeting renewal deadlines.”

The group's chariman urged the council to rethink the rule change, saying it was ‘illogical’, with ‘inevitable delays’ in obtaining the certificates.

His group, representing taxi drivers in Bracknell, told the council’s licensing and safety committee in January that they were concerned about the cost of the DBS checks.

In the same meeting, council officials said that drivers would be able to sign up to a national scheme which would reduce the initial cost.

Since, Bracknell Forest Council has told the News: “We are working with trade and individual drivers on the practicalities of implementation and the matter will be subject to further dialogue at the forthcoming trade/council liaison group.”

The council defended the requirements of a Certificate of Good Conduct as ‘both proportionate and necessary’.

Mr Lacximicanta said: “After exchanging a few emails with Bracknell Forest Council taxi licensing officers to discuss changes to the recent policy, they are reviewing the situation again.

“Now, we are waiting for BFC's response, especially after receiving opinions from the drivers of our taxi association.”

In response, BFC said: “Bracknell Forest Council remains committed to promoting public safety via proportionate, necessary and balanced checks to keep the travelling public safe.”

The next licensing and safety committee has the provisional date of October 14.