Rasub Afzal and Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald want to make minibus drivers undergo the same criminal checks as taxi drivers

Middlesbrough Taxi driver Mr Rasub Afzal (front) is running a petition urging the government to change it’s laws so that minibus drivers, like taxi drivers, have CRB checks

A taxi driver who set up a petition for tighter controls of minibus drivers has renewed calls for more checks following the revelation that children as young as 11 are being groomed in Middlesbrough.

Rasub Afzal, from Middlesbrough, has spent months urging the Government to change its legislation so that minibus drivers – like taxi drivers – have DBS (formerly CRB) checks before they are given their licence.

The 46-year-old dad enlisted the help of Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald to help with his battle to pass on his petition to Parliament.

The Labour MP confirmed he was working with Mr Afzal and had written to then Transport Minister Norman Baker but had not received a favourable response.

“The Minister said that while he wasn’t saying that there wasn’t any risk at all, he felt the risk was low and that the current regime was adequate,” he said.

But Mr Afzal said although minibuses could carry more people “there are times when there is only the driver and the last drop off”.

Mr McDonald has also written to Mr Baker’s predecessor Baroness Susan Kramer.

“Sadly I received much the same response namely that the Government would not be changing its position on Enhanced CRB checks for PCV drivers,” he said.

“With the benefit of the excellent piece of work done by the council this week, I will raise this issue again in the House at the earliest opportunity.”