Sometimes, taxis can be used by perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, drug-running or, the exploitation of vulnerable people.
On 9 February, West Devon Borough Council held a training course that was aimed at helping taxi drivers to spot the signs of Child Sexual Exploitation or vulnerable people at risk, how to report any concerns, and where to report them.
This interactive and informative course was launched in 2016 and has already reached 91 out of the 109 licensed taxi drivers in the Borough. The same training was also held at South Hams District Council.
Community Safety Partnership Lead, Cllr Robin Musgrave said: "It is really rewarding to witness drivers who come out of this training and give a positive report that they feel empowered, and have found the training to be extremely valuable. To us, it means that we have achieved the key aims of the training, to equip drivers with the knowledge and tools for safeguarding.
"Taxi drivers are an important part of our community. Their service is valuable because of the relatively limited public transport facilities in our rural areas. We are pleased about the number of drivers who keep on responding to the call for this training. They are making a vital investment in their own development and in making our communities safer."
A local taxi driver who attended the training said: "I learned so much today. I hope that this training is being made available for all taxi drivers. It's really important for all of us to be educated on things to look out for when it comes to protecting vulnerable people, or even signs of child sexual exploitation."
Another driver added: "The trainer explained so much and all of it was so important. I thought I knew what this training would be about but I was wrong, I have learned so much more. The most positive thing is that I now know what to do if I ever come across the exploitation of vulnerable people during one of my trips."
This course is one of many that take place around the country. It is designed to show the drivers what Child Sexual Exploitation is, the tactics that perpetrators use, how safeguarding can involve the taxi trade unknowingly in trafficking and how to report a concern.
The next course will be held on 6 June 2018. If you are a licensed taxi driver and you would like to get involved, please email Licensing@swdevon.gov.uk to reserve a place.