TAXI drivers in Herefordshire will now have to undergo mandatory safeguarding training to ensure vulnerable residents are fully protected.

Herefordshire Council voted to adopt the new policy which sets out the expectations of the licensing authority and will prove to be an invaluable document for the council's officers when enforcing and regulating the licensing of the county's 1,050 taxi drivers, hackney carriage vehicles, private hire vehicles and private hire operators.

The most significant change is the introduction of a mandatory safeguarding training element, which will highlight to licence holders potential indicators of concern and what to do if they see them.

Coun Ange Tyler, cabinet member for housing, regulatory services, and community safety, said: "We are delighted to have the opportunity to re-vamp the council's taxi policy. We have consulted with both the taxi trade and stakeholders, and this update is something they have been asking for as well.

"Licensing of taxis is essential to ensure that members of the public and particularly our most vulnerable residents are fully protected, enabling them to travel safely both within and out of county.

"I would like to thank everybody who has played a part in updating the policy, and helping to improve public safety."

The training will be provided in conjunction with council children's services, meaning that once a taxi licence is granted, the licence-holder will also be authorised to carry out county transport work on behalf of Herefordshire Council, such as transport to and from schools, and transporting social care clients.