A little while ago, through your legal team officer Abbey Ameen, you sent Taxi Leaks a request to take down a blog post that you claimed misleading.
We have since spent the last few weeks backing up the statements you questioned as misleading.
Next on our list is the matter of NSLs new licensing contract.
In the article in question, we made the statement;
"The awarding of the licensing contract to a company who's wardens refuse to enforce traffic restrictions against Private Hire drivers in Central London".
You said this allegation was "wholly unfounded, inappropriate and denied by our client."
Not only are we in possession of an email from NSL explaining why NSL wardens are not issuing tickets at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street, but we also noticed similar allegations were made in the April issue of the badge, page 17...click here
We don't believe your legal team sent the badge the same or similar letter that they sent Taxi Leaks and we are curious to find out, why it's ok for them (The LCDC) to publish this in the Badge, but not ok for us to post on Taxi leaks blog.
Below, CEO from NSL, Parking Services Excepting Cash From Motorist. Published in the Daily Mail on the 04/12/2013
Excepts from email train to Westminster City Council and Parking services from a London taxi driver:
Emails run from 05/03/2012 to 31/12/2012
The Cab driver wrote:
Every night there are Private Hire Vehicles parked on double yellow lines on Regent Street, at the junction of Swallow Street. I reported this to one of your passing Civil Enforcement Officers who informed me that they had been instructed to ignore them and let them do whatever they like.
The reply came back:
Thank you for contacting Westminster City Council.
I have forwarded you correspondence to Parking Services' Customer Relations Department for review, who will respond to you in due course.
Thank you for your email. I note your comments and have contacted the City Council's contractors for on-street services, NSL Limited, with your complaint about mini cabs parking at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street.
I have been advised that a joint operation between the Police and NSL took place on 29 January 2012, regarding this problem. The location is being closely monitored at the moment, to ascertain whether special enforcement is requiired in the area.
I acknowledge that you feel aggrieved; however, I trust my comments have been helpful and the action taken has resolved this situation to your satisfaction.
Customer Relations Officer
Westminster City Council
The driver then wrote back:
The 'action taken' hasn't resolved this situation to my satisfaction at all. No action has been taken. Why did the Civil Enforcement Officer refuse to give a PCN to vehicles who were parked on Double Yellow lines? This is still happening every night. They are not slow to give tickets to ordinary members of the public for parking offences. Are they taking some form of monetary payment from the Private Hire drivers in return for not enforcing the law?
Linda Fraser then answered:
Thank you for your email, below. I am concerned to note that you are unhappy with my previous response, and have forwarded your complaint to NSL, for their attention.
I have been advised that, upon sighting Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) approaching the area, mini cab drivers move their vehicles on before PCNs can be issued. PCNs will be issued to any vehicles that are parked in contravention, on yellow lines. NSL and the City Council are taking the situation in this area very seriously and are sending as many available CEOs as possible to the area, in order to enforce appropriately.
I can assure you that CEOs are not taking any form of monetary payment from the private hire drivers in return for not issuing PCNs to vehicles parked in contravention.
Thank you for again bringing this matter to my attention. I trust I have clarified the City Council's position and I would like to assure you that this situation is being closely monitored.
Still not satisfied the driver went on:
Dear Ms Fraser,
I told you that this practice is rife, but obviously Westminster City Council turn a blind eye to it. Why else would you turn down the revenue that could be issued in fines? Can you explain why there are still minicabs parked up every night on Double red and yellow lines all over theWest End, right under the noses of 'Enforcement Officers'? Everyone knows that minicab drivers pay them cash for the privilege of being left alone.
Please see article published in Daily Mail.
Also could you give me the name of the Police station that you claim mounted the operation on at Regent Street and Swallow Street on January 29th.
Answers come back from customer relations at Parking services:
Thank you for your further email dated 5 November 2012 regarding the above enforcement areas. I am concerned that you have found it necessary to contact Customer Relations in Westminster City Council about this matter again.
You state that minicabs are still parking on double yellow and double red lines without enforcement action being taken. I have to advise that the City of Westminster does not enforce red lines; these are enforced by Transport for London.
However, I have noted your comments and have again contacted the City Council’s contractor for on-street parking enforcement, NSL Limited (NSL) to obtain details of the current situation.
I have been informed that a supervisor and several CEOs patrol the area during peak hours but have reported hostility, not only from the minicab drivers but also from the customers of the restaurants and night clubs. I am sure you will appreciate the difficulties involved in enforcing this area; hence, the need for a police presence.
The operation mounted on Regent Street and Swallow Street in January 2012 was operated by West End Police Station.
NSL has advised that it has requested a further operation with the police but since the time of the Olympics, the police have had limited numbers of officers available at night. NSL has confirmed that it is continuing to monitor the situation and will take enforcement action as necessary until the police are able to release officers to mount another operation.
With regard to your reference to the article published by the Daily Mail, I have to advise that NSL is conducting its own internal investigation. The City Council is aware of the allegations made but confirms that neither the Council not NSL tolerate such occurrences and are dealing with the situation appropriately.
I acknowledge you may feel aggrieved about this matter; however, I trust the information I have provided has been helpful.
Customer Relations Officer
To which the driver replied:
Dear Ms Hunte,
Thanks for your reply. Can you tell me what hostility your CEOs have experienced that results in them not issuing parking tickets to minicab drivers, please? Also, can anyone use the same tactics to avoid fines?
And again the answer came back:
Thank you for your response to my email in which you questioned what type of hostility is encountered by the Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) which prevents them from issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to minicab drivers. You also wanted to know if anyone could use the same tactics to avoid paying PCNs.
I have contacted the City Council’s contractor for on-street parking enforcement, NSL Limited (NSL) for further clarification regarding the requirement of a police presence.
I am informed that the CEOs are subject to physical assault, many serious, by the club goers whenever a CEO tries to issue a PCN to the waiting minicabs or chauffeur driven vehicles.
Although PCNs are issued under civil law, when an assault takes place, this is a criminal offence and therefore the police have to be involved. Since this has become a frequent occurrence, for safety reasons, CEOs are not permitted to patrol the area at night without a police presence. However, CCTV cameras continue to operate.
With regard to your second point, it is a criminal offence to assault another person in order to avoid paying a PCN.
I trust that you will appreciate that an employer has a duty of care towards its employees and their safety is of paramount concern. In this case, appropriate action has been taken to ensure the safety of the CEOs in a high risk area and in order for them to carry out their duties, they are accompanied by police officers.
Alternatively please visit our website http://www.westminster.gov.uk/parking which may be of assistance with your enquiry.
Customer Relations Officer