Taxi drivers in Burnley have responded positively to training that will help them take part in the fight against child abuse.
Burnley Council introduced the training to raise child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness among taxi drivers, in line with advice and guidance from national experts, in the summer.
Since then 308 drivers have completed the course and a further 242 people are booked on for training (out of 657 clients).
The remainder are being encouraged to sign up for one of the remaining courses. The training is compulsory for all hackney carriage (black cab) and private hire drivers licensed in the borough.
Councillor Lian Pate, the council’s executive member for community services, said: “I am really pleased with the response from the taxi trade. It’s been really positive and reflects the seriousness of tackling child sexual exploitation.
“Taxi drivers and operators now have a better understanding of the role they can play in helping to protect their most vulnerable passengers. I’d like to thank them for their positive response, and Burnley College for delivering such excellent training courses.”
The training is aimed at providing taxi drivers with the means to recognise vulnerability and act positively in engaging with other agencies, providing guidance as to how they should behave with all customers, not just young people, and how the council and taxi trade can work together.
The CSE training has been developed throughout east Lancashire by licensing officers to ensure a consistent approach to training and has the support of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner.
The course is delivered by safeguarding professionals at Burnley College who worked with specialist officers from Lancashire Police.
It is part of the wider partnership working between the council and the taxi trade to make sure that everyone who uses taxis can be confident about the service they are receiving.
The training for drivers and operators has five core themes:
· Basic CSE awareness, signs and symptoms
· Recognition of their own responsibilities
· Recognise how they should behave professionally
· How they can report any concerns, suspicions they have
· Understanding victims – breaking myths