Suspended taxi officers finally return to work

South Ribble Council Civic Centre, Leyland
South Ribble Council Civic Centre, Leyland

Two licensing officers suspended as part of the South Ribble taxigate scandal are to return to work- a year on.

The two officers - believed to be a man and a woman - were placed on suspension on January 13, 2016. Another person from the department was moved to other duties at the same time.

It followed revelations the council failed to carry out background checks on drivers and allegations of child sexual exploitation by male taxi drivers.

The officer’s disciplinary investigations were completed in May 2016, and the council has spent the last eight months considering the outcomes.

This week it was announced that the pair would be returning to their jobs, but details on whether they were cleared of any wrongdoing have not been released.

A spokesperson for South Ribble Borough Council said: “A thorough and robust investigation has been undertaken.

“Following its conclusion, we can confirm that the two officers will be returning to work at the council.”

Labour Councillor Paul Foster, leader of the opposition, said: ‘We welcome the fact the staff are returning, after what must have been a really difficult period for them. The length of time is has taken to resolve this is truly astonishing, that said, all the staff retain our full support in what must be extremely challenging circumstances.”

He added his support for chief executive Jean Hunter, but added: “Moral is at an all time low, and we must do whatever we can to address the situation.”

The council declined to comment on the amount of time taken.