Last week, in a high profile news bulletin on BBC London News , Westminster City Councils cabinet member Daniel Astaire, explained the reason behind the ticket issued to Hillary Clinton's Mercedes in St James Square.
"We need to manage our streets and it doesn't matter who you are, if you don't park properly, we've got to enforce", he said with a big smile on his face.
This statement came as a complete shock to bewildered Taxi Drivers who have been pressing Westminster Councils parking agents for many years to enforce parking restriction outside major WestEnd night venues.
Perhaps Daniel Astaire would now like to take the opportunity of explaining to the Licensed Taxi trade, why his parking wardens, or "Parking Marshals" as he calls them, refuse to issue parking tickets (PCNs) to a certain group of minicabs who regularly park, unlawfully in Regent Street by Swallow Street Arch. The actions of these private hire drivers goes completely unhindered by traffic wardens.
We know TfL compliance officers and the Met police give this venue a wide birth as well.
Not only do these vehicles park on the double yellow lines, causing congestion, but during the evening hours leading up to midnight they are also parked in a Bus a Lane. But then many in the Taxi trade believe that minicab operators have some sort of "Golden Ticket" which allows them to do what ever they like.
Hendy, Daniels and Chapman consistently avoid all questions concerning this operator, as did John Mason before his removal.
At the lastest (and apparently final) Taxi forum held by LTPH at Palestra, when the question of RD2's ease of acquiring licences was bought up, no one on the panel spoke, no one even made eye contact with the driver who bought it up.
While licensed Taxis are victimised for over ranking at some major transport termini, due in the main to a lack of sufficient working rank spaces, a complete blind eye approach is taken by all agencies regarding illegally plying for hire and unlawful parking by minicabs.
Below minicabs illegally plying for hire, illegally ranking and unlawfully parked at Swallow Street.
WESTMINSTER'S REFUSAL TO COOPERATE WITH FOI REQUEST, LEADS TO COMPLAINT TO COMMISSIONERS.
Taxi Leaks in partnership with members of the RMT London Taxi Branch contacted Westminster Council some time ago about the non-enforcement of unlawful parking at Swallow Street.
We were passed from department to department with no one actually able to answer our questions comprehensively.
We have been told the main reason NSL wardens won't enforce parking regulations at this venue, is because of aggressive threats and violent assaults.
So we then applied (under a number of freedom of information requests) for a list of assaults, dates times and locations.
But, Westminster were adamant they didn't have these statistics and our request was denied.
After making a complaint to the Information Commissioners, it transpired Westminster were lying and the commissioners instructed Westminster to give us the information asked for.
Low and behold, we found no assaults had taken place at the junction of Regent Street and Swallow Street W1, between the dates and times we had requested.
The only five assaults on wardens between the time and dates:
2010 Harrow road Junction with Ashmore Road
2010 South Wharf Road
2011 Shouldham St
2011 Leicester street
2012 Randolph Avenue
2012 Junction of Coventry Street/Oxenden Street.
Why would these assaults have any impact, on the actions of wardens enforcing parking regulations in a completely different sector?
The present situation at Swallow and Regent concerning illegally plying for hire and touting needs to be investigated.
TfL, LTPH, Westminster City Council and the a Met police are all turning a blind eye to what's going on.
Drivers should write to their MP and assembly members, expressing their concerns and demand this situation is investigated, as soon as possible.
The present situation is scandalous in light of the escalating serious sexual assaults including rapes, which police estimates say, are running at 25 per week.
Because of a high profile double rape case that originated when unlicensed minicab drivers illegally plying for hire, picked up a young lady at Heddon Street, Westminster have seen sense and appointed an eight vehicle Taxi rank at the junction of Regent and Heddon Street. The rank comes into operation at midnight, as the bus lane restrictions finish.
There have been calls for a similar kerbside rank, at Swallow Street and it has been agreed, but in principle only.
Must we wait for another violent rape before this appointment is approved and implemented?
Taxi Leaks will continue to put pressure on TfL, Westminster and the Met to resolve this unacceptable situation. But we now believe that only direct action, taken on a regular basis, will move this issue forward.