SAFETY concerns have been reignited about taxi drivers being licensed in one part of the country and operating in another after an attack in Winchester.

Driver Ferham Khan, 33, was last week jailed for sexually assaulting and orally raping a woman he had picked up on The Broadway at around 1am on September 30, 2017.

Now, the Echo has learnt Khan was in fact licensed by City of Wolverhampton Council, but was working for Wessex Cars in Winchester – which is permitted under the law, but has been described as a “grave concern” by Winchester City Council.

Concerns were raised last year about Wolverhampton-licensed taxis operating in Winchester. In a letter sent to Winchester civic chiefs last spring, registered Hackney taxi driver Colin Smith said: “Instead of applying to Winchester City Council as they don’t think they can pass the relatively easy knowledge test, they bypass this and get a licence very easily at Wolverhampton.”

Mr Smith also raised concerns that these drivers don’t pay fees to the council, are not subject to safety spot checks and are taking work from struggling local cabbies.

Responding to the news, a spokesman for City of Wolverhampton Council said: “As is the case with anyone seeking a licence with us, he underwent an enhanced DBS check at the time of his application and had no previous convictions.

“As soon as we received information from Hampshire police that they were investigating him on suspicion of a serious sexual assault, we immediately took him off the road


The spokesman added the authority would welcome the introduction of mandatory CCTV camera is all taxis.

Wessex Cars director Farooq Khan – who is not related to Ferham – stressed that the DBS checks were to the same standards wherever they are carried out.

He added that he did not think the 12-year sentence was sufficient, said he would no longer be renewing Wolverhampton licences, and also backed a call for CCTV cameras.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Winchester City Council said: “

The leader [Cllr Caroline Horrill] wrote to Wolverhampton last April expressing considerable concern around the possible implications of their of licensing policy.

“The matter continues to be of grave concern locally. We maintain this incident indicates the urgent need to tighten up licensing laws nationally to ensure people are kept safe when using taxis or private hire vehicles