Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rape of teenager in Windsor on night out leads to change in how private hire vehicles are identified

Teenager told car was a 'taxi’ leads to a change in how private hire vehicles are identified.

THE rape of a teenager who got into a car she was told was a 'taxi’ has led to a change in how private hire vehicles are identified.

Proposals have been approved to force all of the more than 950 private hire vehicles operating in the Royal Borough to display a sticker in the front window of their vehicle bearing the logo of their firm as a mark of authenticity.

The move has come as a direct result of an incident in Windsor in May last year, when a 19-year-old girl was raped after getting into a car she was told by her assailant Anshul Sharma was a taxi as she left Liquid nightclub in Victoria Street.

She was attacked in the car after it was driven to a closed petrol station. Sharma, then of Hencroft Street, Slough, was jailed for five years in October last year.
Cllr Jesse Grey, a member of the Royal Borough’s Licensing Panel which authorised the move at a meeting on Tuesday, said: “Obviously one rape is one too many so we felt that we needed to do something to just tighten up the system a little bit.”

Currently, private hire vehicles are only required to display identification on the exterior rear of their vehicles though many already do display a windscreen logo.

Original proposals put forward at the meeting included forcing the majority of private hire vehicles to display a door sign bearing the council’s logo and a licence number, which was strongly opposed by nearly all firms in the borough with some threatening to move their business elsewhere if the move was approved.

The firms feared a dramatic loss of custom from businesses and formal occasions if their high-spec cars were plastered with the council logo and purple and white colours.

Speaking after the meeting, Shaid Nadeem, manager at FiveStar Windsor which already has the windscreen sticker in place, said: “The signs would have been too much when you consider them on the cars we have such as our Mercedes.

“The council has been very responsive on this.”
The changes are expected to come into force next week.


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