It's been almost 3 weeks since the MET release the Uber driver sexual assaults on customers FOI. We were promised this report would feature in the Daily Mail. It now appears the Mail has changed their mind and the story looks like it's been shelved.
But not all is lost, Taxi Leaks has acquired the relevant facts and will today publish the full story.
On the 7th of April 2017, a request was made to the Metropolitan Police service (MPS) under the Freedom of Information Act asking simply for the number of reported sexual assaults, by private hire drivers working for the operator 'Uber' or have had the operator Uber stated as part of the witness statement.
Quite straightforward, the MPS should be impartial and have nothing to hide or cover up. It was felt that the answer would be returned in the statutory time frame.
But this was not to be.
On the 10th of April we were given a reference number of 2017040000271, and informed that the request would be considered in accordance with the freedom of information act 2000 and that we could expect a response within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, as defined in the act.
By the 11th of May, we still hadn't revieved a reply, so a reminder was sent. This was acknowledged by the MPS later that day.
A week later (18th May) we still nothing, so another reminder was sent.
We heard nothing until the 26th May, when we were informed that a reply had been drafted but was 'waiting approval' (from whom they never said!).
We then sent another reminder on the 9th of June, that the request was long overdue and that by law we should of had a response back by this time.
3 days later, we were informed that an internal review would now take place, with a caveat that under the code of practise, there was no time limit in relation to the completion of said review.
On the 13th, just one day later we were informed the request was still in the approval stage.
On the 28th of June, it was made clear that in regards to our request, no information had been provided and also no refusal notice had been given, therefore the MPS had not complied with the requirement of section 10 of the act.
Inquiries were made by the information manager and we were now informed that a reply was currently being drafted.....even though we had already been told a draft had been completed but was waiting for approval.
Then on the 29th June...Bingo, we finally get a reply.
It stated that from Feb 16 to Feb 17 there had been 48 sexual offences recorded were Uber was referenced in a crime report for a private hire journey-related sexual offence- in London.
So now we can now positively state that Uber related serious sexual assaults including rapes, has increased this year by 50% going up from last years 32, to this years 48.
Please be advised, that according to the Mets own statistics, backed up by reports from the Haven Rape Crisis centre and Susie Lamplugh trust, only 10% of all sexual attacks get officially reported to the police. This would point to the fact that there could be as many as 12 serious sexual assaults weekly in London Uber PHVs alone.
We would also like to point out, the way some of these statistics get massaged:
If a driver has the app turned off and has touted the victim, then this is not added to the list.
If the journey finishes outside the Met, this attack would not be added to the London statistics even though the journey started in central London.
We are still awaiting TfL's statistics on Uber sexual attacks promised in May.