Ex-policeman who abducted schoolgirl wins battle to be a taxi driver

Ex-policeman, 39, who quit the force after abducting schoolgirl, 15, and her friend wins battle to become a taxi driver 13 years after conviction

  • Imran Ali resigned after luring the girls into his vehicle in Manchester in 2006
  • He applied for a private hire licence earlier this year but saw it turned down
  • Magistrates yesterday reversed the decision, describing him as ‘fit and proper’ 

An ex-policeman who quit the force after admitting abducting a schoolgirl has won a battle to become a taxi driver 13 years after his conviction.

Imran Ali lured a 15-year-old and another girl into a vehicle after a night out in Manchester city centre in 2006.

The following year, the 39-year-old pleaded guilty to abducting a child under 16 at Preston Crown Court and resigned from the force having been based at Didsbury police station at the time of the offence.

Ali, of Merston Drive, Manchester, then applied for a private hire licence from Sefton Council in Merseyside earlier this year, even though he lived some 40 miles away.

Imran Ali applied for a private hire licence from Sefton Council earlier this year, but was initially turned down as he ‘was not a fit and proper person’

Town hall chiefs turned down his application as he ‘was not a fit and proper person’, adding that ‘driving a taxi is a privilege’, the Liverpool Echo reports. 

Ali then appealed the decision at South Sefton Magistrates Court where Trading Standards Officer Mark Toohey said the panel had to consider ‘whether or not we would be satisfied with a member of our family getting into the vehicle with this person driving. And in this case we would not be.’

However, the court was told the applicant was remorseful and rehabilitated, having worked to deliver food parcels to the needy during the coronavirus pandemic – an act which has seen him nominated for a number of awards.

He added that he was managing three different charities, had built up a property portfolio with 43 tenants and recently qualified as a civil engineer.

When asked why he wanted to drive a taxi considering his other employment experience, Ali said it was due to the flexible working hours, which would help him be able to study for another year for a degree.

He added that the waiting list for a private hire licence was much shorter in Sefton than in Manchester, which he suggested was more important than the distance from his home. 

The council follows a set of guidelines when it comes to granting licences, with individuals involved in an assault with a child given as an example of a situation that would require at least a ten year wait before such permission could be granted.

However, there is no such guidance on child abduction, as such cases come up so rarely, Mr Toohey said.

South Sefton Magistrates Court, pictured, reversed the council’s decision and granted Ali his licence

Having heard the evidence, the court reversed the council’s decision and granted Ali his licence.

Magistrate Keith Elford said: ‘Mr Ali’s conviction dates back more than 14 years. Since then, he has successfully built a business portfolio and achieved qualifications, as well as starting a family. 

‘During the Covid-19 pandemic, he has contributed significantly to the welfare of his local community.

‘Sefton Council could not set a precedent for this type of offence. He is a fit and proper person for a taxi driver licence.’

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