Saturday, August 23, 2014

Coventry Street Shocker: Police Refuse To Enforce The Jim Thomas

As I approached Coventry Street late on Thursday night, I observed five minicabs parked behind the Taxi rank with three quarters of their vehicles actually on the pavement.
Amazingly there were four uniformed police officers, complete in hi-visibility coats standing next to the cars, but apparently saying nothing. The officers didn't seem to be in the least bit fazed by this blatant abuse of pavement obstruction. 

I put on the rank and approached the officers. Explaining that in London, since the GLA act of 1974, there has been a blanket ban on cars parked with one or more wheels on the pavement and I politely asked to have these vehicles moved off. One officer said he would attend to this and so I made my way back to my cab. 

But as I watched, the officers were approached and spoken to by the doorman from the Lap dancing club, Premium Lace. The officers then retreated back to their original positions. I got back out of my cab and again confronted the officers.

I was told they were unwilling to assist moving the vehicles as they had been given permission "by the door man", to wait for girls leaving the club as this was a dangerous area. One officer believe it or not, then started to lecture me on the danger of young girls getting into strangers cars in the west end thinking they were, in his words, "Taxis". I pointed to the rank full of licensed Taxis and said "how hard is it for the doorman to escort the girls the few feet to the point of the rank, should they require a Taxi?". 
The officer just shrugged his shoulders and stood behind his colleagues.

I then asked the assembled officers, when the law had been changed to give doorman the power to give permission to touts to park wherever they like.
I also tried to reason with the officers, but they flatly refused to move on the illegally plying for hire touts. 

I spotted three Westminster traffic wardens on the corner of Rupert Street, so I approached and found they were only too pleased to confront the minicabs touts, which quickly sped off. I thanked the wardens and they returned to Rupert Street. But seconds after they turned the corner, a new batch of touts parked on the pavement. 

I told the police officers if they wouldn't help, then I would speak to their sergeant who I could see watching the proceedings, standing by the mobile police HQ on Wardour Street.

I was completely unprepared for what happened next.

I walked up to the sergent and asked if he had a minute. He said "what's the matter" and I then gave full details of how his officers were refusing to move the offending minicabs parking on the pavement. I also outlined the Act of 1974. He just looked at me and said he had "better things to be getting on with". 

I insisted he enforced the law and reminded him he was a public servant, paid to enforce the law which I now wanted him to do.

Then to my surprise he got very aggressive, started pointing his finger in my face and shouting at me. I reminded him that as a police office he had no right to be this aggressive and shouldn't be shouting at me in this manner, in a public place. But he just walked away. 

I couldn't take his number, as I had left my glasses in the Taxi. Unfortunately by the time I got back to the cab, retrieved my glasses and armed with a pen and notepad, he had disappeared 

So there you have it. Boris's 100 bobbies on the beat are there for no more than an impotent, hi-vis PR operation, with no intention of being the zero tolerance model of the NYPD this operation was based on.

But More Seriously:
These officers, by giving permission for minicabs to illegally park outside a club, are sanctioning their approval of open touting. By doing so, they are part of the problem of escalating crime, in Central London, instead of being part of a solution.

The safety of the public is being compromised on a nightly basis by the actions (or should I say non actions) of these officers.

We already know TfL enforcement and compliance fail to enforce the Private Hire Vehicles act of 1998, (when it comes to illegal plying for hire). They instead concentrate mainly on Taxi drivers documentation, Badge and Bill checks. 

We now have conclusive proof that the Police are turning a blind eye wholesale when it comes to touting and illegally plying for hire and are seemingly aiding and abetting touts and sexual predators alike, in the West End. 

With approximately 25 minicab related serious sexual assaults (the Met's own estimate) happening weekly, this is a shameful affaire. 

When questioned about the Met's non-existent enforcement on radio, the Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe just said, Taxi drivers also commit offences every day and left it there.

Editorial Comment:
Later, I went back and spoke at length with the Doorman of Premium Lace who informed me the club doesn't have a satellite office licence . He freely admitted quite a few of the cars parking outside his club are touting. While we were speaking, he did ask a number of cars to wait in Rupert Street and said he had inspected their PDAs to make sure they had bookings. But as soon as the booked cars move, they are replaced by touts. 

Touts are freely operating, completely unhindered by police officers who just stand about watching and doing nothing.

This is not a victimless crime. It has led to a steep rise in serious sexual assaults including rapes.

Why are Westminster City Council not complaining about the police non-action?
The main reason for the London wide blanket ban on pavement parking is in respect of not only obstruction, but damage caused to pavements, which then have to be repaired at a cost to the rate payers.


Anonymous said...

The female compliance officers hang around McDonalds on the strand,Badge and bill taxi drivers on the rank and ignore the touting by the minicabs behind the taxi rank.They call this compliance,Ha Ha.
Another trick they use is a customer enquires about the cost of a ride and walks away.The compliance lady strolls up to the driver and says what was wrong with that job,intimating that the driver may be refusing a fare under 12 miles.Have these useless people got nothing better to do with their time.

simco said...

Not by coincidence I have documented similar encounters with police. Many of them were put on twitter adding recipients from Police top brass, councillors, to traffic wardens. No one takes iota of interest.

Editorial said...

If you are not working and have just pulled up for a coffee
And if your light is off..... She has no power to stop you or demand documents if you are not working or plying for hire.

Doesn't matter if you quote someone a price, you can switch on or off as often as you like.

She has to find you plying for hire and available for work.

Just tell her to jog on and if possible film her and I'll post it on here


Anonymous said...

After the episode I had involving a policeman letting a bilker do a runner from me outside southwark police station and then telling me "I ain't chasing him for 14 quid", I realised that the police don't really give a toss about much these days

No wonder not many people respect them these days

Anonymous said...

Just to add to TtT
Still got to be careful-you cannot "just pull up for a coffee" on a working rank

Anonymous said...

I witnessed five people having a fight in Charing X Road; boots and fists were going in a ferocious exchange. Meanwhile two men dressed in police uniforms on the other side of the street were so engrossed in their conversation they missed the whole fracas and walked calmly on. These two clowns are not worthy of being described as police officers or coppers. Is it any wonder the streets in the west end have such a high rates of crime.

Gerald Coba said...

Jimmy, this is disgusting that the police should ignore law breaking and condone open touting.

To the old bill zero tolerance obviously means doing zero
We didn't need an extra hundred constables to do nothing, they was already doing that.

Danny said...

Met police are a total utter joke, laughing stock of the world. Remember in 2011 they stood petrified as london burned during the riots. If you tell a joke and it has anti gay connotations you will have 30 squad cars despatched to your house for your arrest., apart from enforcing PC they are utterly useless . Never ever help them ever.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Danny, I NEVER help them anymore!!

Only good for carrying out their political masters PC agenda.

Total waste of space.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should get round the tout hot spots - where the Police are present - and the film the Polices response to such requests, as this all too common place. Essentially if the Police aren't tasked - i e told to do it - they don't do anything. All they want is a stroll about - hope nothing kicks off and go home - easy life. They have absolutely no sense of civic duty or what it means to maintain law and order - the job they are supposed to do. This needs to exposed - little film on you tube might help. The trouble with preventative policing is that you can't put it on a spread sheet eg moved on 4 touts one sexual offence stopped - you can't measure it - and that's no good. The Police live in a target orientated culture - no target no action. However the Police do have a target for monitoring anti social behaviour - which they monitor through the number of phone calls they recieve about it eg less calls = they are tackling it. So, if Cab drivers bombarded the Met with calls about anti social behaviour - touting- on the non emergency line of course- 101???- this would mess all thier targets up - they wouldn't like that and may be just may be they would be forced to do something. Worth a thought. This is exactly the sort of thing our spineless trade orgs should be talking to the Met about.

Anonymous said...

I know lets all just slag of the police that will help the cause

Editorial said...

Oh yeh let's not up set the old bill, they've been so great???

Try telling that to the parents of a young person whose life has being shattered by a predator tout these officers have allowed to illegally rank and illegal plying for hire.

Sorry if it hurts their feelings, They just aint doing their job and because they're not doing their job 25 young people are being sexually assaulted and raped weekly

Anonymous said...

For a start - we should ignore the Mayor's merry men pronouncing about the West End acting as police officers. They are seconded under a Special Service Agreement and were/are purely a public relations exercise
Policing decisions in London was devolved down to local levels many years ago and Chief Superintendents have autonomy as to police commitments
Such commitments are based on crime stats, complaints etc
If little or no complaints for example are recorded against touting then it is off the radar and way down the list of priorities
So the bottom line is - to get local police action one must officially complain and get the stat figures up

Anonymous said...

By law an officer has to give he's number if a member of the public ask for it next time film it