TAXI drivers are to be told not to engage in sexual acts or dialogue over concerns about ‘inappropriate behaviour’.

Council chiefs are to add a condition to private hire licences after a probe found such behaviour is not ‘isolated’ – and drivers are associating with prostitutes.

A drivers’ leader today hit back and said the move did not reflect actual risk and would frighten passengers. The council is bound by law has to regulate the trade.

The condition states: “Drivers may not initiate any dialogue of a ‘sexual nature with a passenger. Licensed drivers are not permitted to become involved ‘sexually’, or have sexual contact, even with consent, whilst in a licensed vehicle with any person.”

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A council report said: “A recent investigation has indicated that there has also been at least one instance where a driver has acted inappropriately and in a sexual manner, although by consent, with a female minor.

“Other complaints and anecdotal evidence would suggest that such behaviour is not isolated and other complainants have stated that drivers have spoken or behaved in an entirely inappropriate manner where no consent has been given.”

And it said: “There also increasing reports from Thames Valley Police that drivers have been associating with known prostitutes.”

Police had requested all councils in the Thames Valley area consider adding the condition.

Officers said that nationally, two per cent of serious sexual offences are ‘committed by licensed drivers within licensed vehicles on vulnerable passengers’.

In ‘many such cases the driver states that the other party consented to the assault’.

Yet Mohammed Asif, spokesman for the Wycombe Private Hire Association, said: “It doesn’t really happen, it is very rare.

“They should have written these rules 20 years ago. Why have they had a change of heart?

“It is a serious allegation and the way they are putting it down is that taxi drivers are rapists. What impression does that give to the public?”

The council also agreed to add into its policy a statement stating that licences without not be issued 'under any circumstances' without checks including a criminal records bureau check.

The moves were agreed by the council’s regulatory and appeals committee on Tuesday night.