Friday, October 17, 2014

Police commissioner Tony Lloyd fears rise in sex attacks if taxiregulation is 'swept away'

Since the Private Hire Act of 1998, London has been no more than an experiment, when it comes to private hire regulation an enforcement.

It's time for our licensing authority to admit that this experiment has failed. 

The amount of minicab related serious sexual assaults, including rapes, robberies, extortion and people trafficking in London is disproportionate to other major cities in the UK. 

  • Why is London one of the only cities that PHV can be passed around to friends and family members to drive?
  • Why should London's minicabs carry no visible livery identification as in other major cities?
  • Why should London minicabs be allowed to have blacked out windows making identification of roundels impossible?
  • Why should licensing authority TfL be allowed to refuse to deal with complaints against drivers which are currently passed back to the operator to deal with?

Below is an article taken from the Manchester Evening Post expressing concerns from a cross party group of police commissioners, concerning the removal of certain measures by the Deregulation Bill currently going through parliament.

News Greater Manchester News.
Tony Lloyd Police commissioner Lloyd fears rise in sex attacks if taxi regulation is 'swept away'

A group of police commissioners led by Tony Lloyd have urged the government to remove 'dangerous' measures in the Deregulation bill currently before parliament

Plans to cut red tape for taxi and private hire drivers could lead to rise in sex attacks, police commissioner Tony Lloyd has warned.

A cross-party group of police commissioners, led by Mr Lloyd, have joined forces to urge the Government to remove ‘dangerous’ measures in the Deregulation Bill currently going through parliament.

In Manchester the livery of private hire taxis and regulation were improved following the 1996 murder of student Rachel Thacker in the city by a bogus cabbie Duncan Bermingham.

Mr Lloyd said: “Taxi regulation reform is long overdue, but this is not the way to go about it. The current system is far from perfect, but at least there are safeguards there which mean people can have confidence that when they get into a marked private hire vehicle it is genuine and being driven by a licensed operator.

“Taking these safeguards away opens the prospect of a private hire free-for-all. There will be no guarantee that a driver is who he says he is, and the inevitable consequence is that there will be an increase in people being attacked after a night out.

“Private hire regulation is good here in Greater Manchester – but that’s as a direct result of a terrible case nearly 20 years ago when a young woman was brutally murdered after getting into a vehicle she thought was a cab. Her murder was the catalyst for change in Greater Manchester. I never want to see a case like that again in our region, but I’m afraid to say these proposals make that prospect much more likely.

“We know that isn’t what the bill intends, and support measures to make life easier for small businesses and self-employed people, but there’s a real danger it will be the consequence, which is why we’ve written to (minister without portfolio) Ken Clarke to urge him to remove these measures and introduce a dedicated taxi bill so that reforms can be brought in in a considered way which will be subject to rigorous scrutiny. These current proposals are ill-thought-through - rushed law is often bad law.”

Under the Deregulation Bill, these safeguards are to be ‘swept away’, opening up the prospect of a private hire ‘free-for-all’, says Mr Lloyd.