Sarah uses Rotherham abuse experience to make all children traveling in taxis safer

Following a campaign by Rotherham MP Sarah Champion, the Government will introduce new measures that place a duty on local authorities to ensure that taxis and private hire vehicles are better equipped to protect children from sexual exploitation. The horror of the child sexual exploitation disaster in Rotherham uncovered the role that private hire vehicles and taxis played in the grooming and trafficking of young girls for sex. Confronted with this weakness, Rotherham Council bought in measures to ensure that children using taxis are better protected.

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham, pushed the Government to make similar changes nationally through legal changes in the Policing and Crime Bill, and yesterday her campaign proved successful. Of this victory she said:

I am pleased that the steps that Rotherham Council took locally, will now be implemented nationally. We have a responsibility to keep all children safe. It has been two years since the Rotherham abuse scandal, and only now the Government has listened and taken action to make the taxi profession safer for the most vulnerable children. Whilst I welcome this decision, it is disgraceful that the Government has taken this long to act.

Children's charity Bernado's, reinforced how important these measures are for the safety of children. The Chief Executive, Javed Kahn said:

New measures to make taxis safer for vulnerable children at risk of exploitation are needed urgently. Whilst the vast majority of taxi drivers are law abiding, taxis and private hire vehicles have been linked to many cases of child sexual exploitation.

In Rotherham, the new measures require all taxi drivers to have CCTV cameras installed in their cars from July 2016. In addition, drivers will be required to activate an audio recording device whenever they transport an unaccompanied child or vulnerable adult.

NewsVanessa Johns