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29 August 2014, 13:09
MK Council admit they allowed a convicted rapist to drive taxis in the town for three years.
The man in question was granted a license in September 2011.
The council knew he had four convictions for serious sexual assault including rape but this was overlooked because of a 'strong' character reference.
This was given by Councillor Subhan Shafiq who has now resigned from his post as Mayor:
"It is with deep sorrow that I feel that I have no alternative but to resign as Mayor of Milton Keynes as I have lost the confidence of many councillors. Sadly I gave a reference to someone, three and a half years ago, regarding the few years I have known them in Milton Keynes, with hindsight I should not have. Now I am Mayor it is best that I resign as the office of Mayor must be above criticism.
"It has been a great honour for me to have been elected Mayor and it is with regret that I have had to resign. I hope that I have served the residents of Milton Keynes well during my short period as Mayor. My wife and I have been so proud to represent this great city of Milton Keynes.
"I will obviously continue my work as a ward councillor and represent my residents to the best of my ability."
Councillor Gladstone McKenzie has also resigned from his post as Vice Chair and a member of the Regulatory Committee.
As has Councillor Stuart Burke from his post as Chair of Licensing & Regulation:
"It is with regret that I have decided to resign as Chair of Licensing and Regulation. It is clear that on reflection I made an error of judgement in taking the decision to grant a taxi license in this particular case. I am pleased that there are now much clearer draft rules on how to deal with applicants that have paid the price for their crime.
"I have enjoyed my last four years as Chair of Licensing & Regulation; I would like to thank my fellow committee members and all the council officers who have helped me while I have been Chair. I will continue to work hard for the residents of my ward"
In January 2012 a letter of concern was written to the council regarding the occupation of the driver and in April 2012 his license was suspended.
A review was then carried out the following month where his license was reinstated, allowing him to go back to working as a private hire driver.
In March this year he was also given a license to drive a Hackney Carriage.
It wasn't until last week, when a member of the public went to the Leader of Milton Keynes Councils house with a letter of concern that both of these licenses were revoked.
A review has now been carried out into the way Milton Keynes Council issue taxi licenses and they claim they now have a new policy.
During the review, seven other taxi drivers licensed by the council were highlighted as concerning.
One of these has surrendered his license and the six others are still working as taxi drivers in the town.