Saturday, January 26, 2013

Romford minicab driver, called by street pastors, raped girl passenger, 17

A minicab driver, who had been called by Good Samaritans to drive a drunken girl home safely, has been jailed for eight years for raping his teenage passenger.

The 17-year-old victim passed out after drinking too much while out with friends in Romford, police said.

She was helped by door staff and street pastors - church volunteers who look after vulnerable partygoers - who arranged for a licensed minicab to take her to her home in Basildon, Essex.
But the driver, Nicolae Talaba, 35, took advantage of the girl’s drunken state and raped her after stopping near her home, police said.

Romanian-born Talaba, formerly of Mawney Road, Romford, carried on working after the attack in February 2012.

He was arrested when he returned to England after a holiday in Romania in July 2012.
Talaba was found guilty of one count of rape after a six-day trial at Southend Crown Court and was sentenced on Monday.

Senior Investigating Officer DI Danny Stoten, of Essex Police, said: “This was a lengthy and painstaking investigation that lasted almost a year.

“Talaba took advantage of the trust placed upon him and committed this terrible offence against a vulnerable teenage girl.

“When the rape was reported the offender’s identity was unknown. He was previously from Romania and so he was not on the DNA database. The hard work of the officers involved in the initial investigation, the co-operation of the public and some excellent investigative skills identified Talaba as the offender.

“He was arrested at Dover upon his return to the UK. He has shown no remorse and denied the offence throughout. This meant that the victim had to give evidence against him.

“The hard work, dedication and expertise of the investigating team ensured that the victim received justice. The victim and her family have received a great deal of support and have also contacted officers to thank them for all the work that led to the jailing of Talaba.

“He now has a very long time in prison to ponder upon his horrendous act.”
Tabala was also placed on the Sex Offender Register for life.

Judge Spares Paedophile Jail, Because He Was Taught At Islamic School, Women Are Worthless.

A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless.

Is this the reason we see so many young women sexually assaulted by Muslim men in this country.

Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.
In every walk of life in this country, ignorance of the law is no defence.

Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’

My god this man is a criminal rapist and the judge hands him the opportunity to repeat his heinous crime, because the accused was naive and immature. You just couldn't make this stuff up...

Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.

But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’.
Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the little girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online.
So you could argue that Rashid was assertive enough to groom, meet and rape the 13 year old girl...

They initially exchanged messages on Facebook before sending texts and chatting on the phone over a two-month period. Typical grooming practises.

They then met up in Nottingham, where Rashid had booked a room at a Premier Inn.
So, the rape was in fact premeditated...
The girl told police they stayed at the hotel for two hours and had sex after Rashid went to the bathroom and emerged wearing a condom.
Not bad for a passive rapist, lacking assertiveness...

Surely every muslim applicant for a job which involves dealing with female members of the public, such as a private hire license, should be required to attend special re schooling where they could be taught that women in this country are of equal standing to men and do not deserve to be the target of sex attacks, no matter where the applicant was schooled

Ignorant: Rashid (pictured above) didn't know it was illegal to have sex with a 13 year old girl.
If this is Justice from the law, then in the words of Dickens, "The Law is an Ass."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Judges rule CRB checks 'incompatible' with Human Rights Act

CRB checks require the disclosure of all criminal convictions or cautions, regardless of their relevance to the job.

Blanket criminal records checks are not "compatible" with a key part of the Human Rights Act, the Court of Appeal has concluded.

The checks, known as CRBs, may prevent a persons right to a private or family life, a draft judgement has found.

Judges rule CRB checks 'incompatible' with Human Rights Act
2 hours ago

CRB checks require the disclosure of all criminal convictions or cautions, regardless of their relevance to the job.
Blanket criminal records checks are not "compatible" with a key part of the Human Rights Act, the Court of Appeal has concluded.

The checks, known as CRBs, may prevent a persons right to a private or family life, a draft judgement has found.

The ruling was made based on the case of a 21-year-old man, who had been forced to reveal details of two police warnings given to him a decade earlier.

The Master of the Rolls, Lord Dyson, said the CRB system must be reformed.

The draft judgement was made on 21 December 2012, but was not revealed at the time amid concerns about its implications for the government over the CRB system.

CRBs require the automatic disclosure of all convictions and cautions to certain employers, regardless of their relevance to the job.

'Pull finger out'
In the case of the unnamed 21-year-old, known as "T", he had been forced to reveal he had received warnings from Manchester Police in connection with two stolen bikes.

He was 11-years-old at the time of the alleged offences.

"T" had been CRB checked when he applied for a part-time job at a local football club aged 17 and later for a university course in sports studies.

At the hearing at the Court of Appeal on Friday, Lord Dyson insisted the government should "pull its finger out" over the issue, which he claimed they had known about for some time.

The court said it hoped to deliver a formal judgement next week.

Proportionate system
The "T" case had been supported by human rights campaigners Liberty.

Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty, said: "The overzealous CRB system has allowed old, minor and unreliable information to wreck the lives of too many hardworking people in the UK.

"The government can't put off dealing with this any longer. We look forward to seeing urgent proposals for a proportionate system that properly balances the aim of public protection with privacy rights."

CRB checks are governed by the Police Act 1997 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975.

For some types of work, especially involving children and vulnerable adults, an employer may request an enhanced or standard CRB check.

In March 2012, new figures from the criminal records bureau revealed the the checks had prevented more than 130,000 unsuitable people, including rapists and paedophiles, from working with children or vulnerable groups.

A government-backed review into CRB checks last year recommended the introduction of a "filter" to remove old and minor conviction information from the checks.

But the coalition has not yet announced any intention to introduce such a system.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why Is This Not Standard Practise TfL?

Liverpool City Council to introduce stricter checks on taxi drivers from overseas

COUNCIL chiefs in Liverpool are to introduce stricter checks on foreign taxi drivers’ backgrounds.

City licensing officials are to ask new applicants for a certificate from their country’s embassy or consulate because they are currently unable to fully check the criminal records of drivers from abroad.

While all applicants must have had a UK or EU driving licence and undergone a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check, there is currently no way to check convictions overseas.

The new system will require drivers from abroad to provide a letter from their consulate or embassy confirming good conduct.

Plans were revealed following a Freedom of Information request from Jim Bradley, a taxi driver in the city for more than 20 years.

Mr Bradley said: “I contacted the council as I was concerned about the fairness of the checking process.

“Our city is cosmopolitan and that is a fantastic thing, but for the safety of the public we need to be sure the backgrounds of everyone are checked to the same high standard.”

A Liverpool City Council spokesman said: “All applicants for a taxi driver’s licence have to have had a DVLA or EEC licence for a minimum of 12 months and all applicants are CRB checked.

“We do not have the power to carry out CRB style checks in foreign countries.

“However we are introducing a system shortly where applicants who come from abroad will be asked to provide a certificate of good conduct from their consulate or embassy.”

Source: Liverpool Echo

Holliday Surcharge To Be Included In Meter Drop.

Just heard from our man in south east London, that TfL have asked Meter providers Digitax, to include Christmas and new year charge to be shown with initial fare. So Christmas Day/Boxing Day and New Years Eve/New years Day, meter drop will show £6.40.

TfL have asked for this change to be included in this Aprils fare increase.

Also to be remembered is that from the 1st of January 2013, it is no longer a requirement to provide a printed recite. In cab printers will now be optional as hand written recites will be acceptable.

Further Clarification on New Vehicle Licensing Service Requirements TfL Notice 06/13

Further to Notices 01/13 and 02/13, this notice provides additional information and clarification regarding the new vehicle licensing service provided by NSL Limited, specifically the MOT process for taxis and the application of licence fees.

Vehicle Licensing Service Provider
SGS will cease providing vehicle licensing services on behalf of TfL on 27 February 2012 when the responsibility will transfer to NSL.

To book a vehicle inspection on or after 28 February 2012 contact 08432 241 777 To book a vehicle inspection before 28 February 2012 contact 0845 378 2345

The fee payable for taxi and private hire vehicle inspections is reviewed annually and is based on the cost incurred by TfL to deliver licensing services.

New fees will be applicable from 2 April 2013 and TfL are currently in the process of approving these. While we anticipate there will be a reduction in these fees we are unable to announce details at this stage.

Please note all inspections undertaken prior to 2 April 2013 will be charged at the current fee.

We understand some owners booking their inspections feel aggrieved at paying the current charge, however, as with any fee review there is a date when new fees will apply. In previous years where fees have increased from April, owners booking inspections before the annual increase have benefitted from booking at the lower charge.

Vehicle owners who book their annual inspections now for an early April appointment will benefit from this anticipated lower fee when booking at same time in future years.

Given the significant change taking place we strongly advise vehicle owners to continue to book early to ensure they guarantee a slot for inspection.

Licence Duration
Please note there are no changes to the length of a vehicle licence as a result of the transition in service provider. Currently vehicles can be tested up to a maximum of 30 days prior to expiry of your existing licence. If your vehicle passes the inspection first time, your new licence period will be calculated from the expiry date of your current licence, however, this does not apply if the vehicle fails the inspection.

New Taxi Licensing Regime and MOTs
As you were informed in Notice 01/13 the new taxi licensing system will commence on 1 March 2013 and will require all taxis to undertake two standard (class 4) MOTs per year.
Only taxis licensed under the new system will require a MOT and these must be no more than 14 days old on date of testing.

NSL taxi inspections will be shorter in duration, reducing from the current average of 30 minutes to an estimated 20 minutes. Inspections will include the issue of licence plates, a meter check and other taxi specific aspects of the vehicle not covered by the MOT. We will not as routine duplicate the MOT inspection process, however, please note that as the Licensing Authority for London, TfL still has a legal duty and responsibility to ensure any vehicle licensed by us as a taxi or private hire vehicle is safe and roadworthy regardless of whether an MOT has been issued within 14 days in line with the new licensing system.

TfL maintains the authority, and will use it, to fail vehicles where we feel it does not meet clear, basic safety standards.

As is already the case taxi owners will have the ability to challenge any decision made by licensing officers through an escalation process. All appeals can be made to the inspection centre customer liaison or team leader.

We are working hard to ensure a smooth transition to NSL and will continue to keep you informed of changes. Further communications including reminders of the new taxi licensing system and the service that will be provided by NSL Ltd will be sent out over the next eight weeks.

We appreciate your patience and understanding and would strongly recommend that you register to receive regular email updates via our distribution list by contacting

John Mason
Director, Taxi and Private Hire

Consultation launched over Hackney Carriage licences granted by the Royal Borough of Windsor.

THE council will give Hackney Carriage drivers the chance to have their say on the number of licences issued.

The Royal Borough announced it will launch a 28-day consultation into Hackney Carriage licences and proposed MOT changes, at a Licensing Panel meeting at Maidenhead Town Hall, St Ives Road, on Tuesday.

Councillor Andrew Jenner, panel chairman, said: “The consultation will give everyone a chance to have their say on the issue.”

Council Dilemma
The council, which issues five additional licences per month, has received three conflicting petitions in the past three months calling for an increase in the number of licences issued, a reduction and to stop them. They are all signed by Hackney Carriage drivers or residents.

*As part of the consultation, proposals for Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicle drivers to book MOTs at council-approved garages prior to licensing or re-licensing to counter safety concerns will also be discussed.

The consultation is due to start on Monday and companies affected will be sent documents. For details, call 01628 683800.

*The shape of things to come, perhaps.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Oxford Council show the way again as private hire drivers are caught out in stings

A CRACKDOWN has seen dozens of private hire drivers fined hundreds of pounds for illegally plying for hire in Oxford.

Only black cabs, known as Hackney carriages, can pick up customers in the street.

Ignoring the rules – brought in during the 1960s – invalidates private hire drivers’ insurance.

Oxford City Council’s licensing team launched its first crackdown on the practice just over a year ago.

It sends officers out across the city several times a year to try to catch drivers in the act.

Private hire drivers caught are fined between £60 and £610, were ordered to pay costs of up to £200 and seven of them received six points on their licences.

The city council refused to give details that will allowed the public to know the identities of the drivers who have been fined.

Private hire driver Richard Barlow, 59, said he felt the team did valuable work.

He said: “It’s important for them to do it because private hire drivers aren’t supposed to pick up unless they’ve been booked.

“It does annoy me when I see drivers doing it. I try to report it when I can, but you need to be able to prove it.”

City council enforcement officer Allan Hibberd said the crackdown was to ensure public safety.

He said: “Private hire drivers work through an operator, and if you want their services you have to phone up and book the vehicle and it will be dispatched to you.

“That is the only way you can use a private hire vehicle legally. They are not allowed to stop if someone hails them, and the drivers know the difference.

“This whole operation is about private hire drivers who operate illegally by operating as an unlicensed Hackney carriage.

“If they do that, they’re also committing a second offence, which is more serious, because their vehicle is only insured to operate through a pre-booking system – if they are not pre-booked, they are driving without insurance.”

No reported accidents have taken place while a driver was uninsured over the past year.

In plain clothes, the council officers attempt to hail private hire vehicles or approach them if they are stopped.

If the driver takes the fare, the officers secretly record the vehicle’s and driver’s details on a mobile phone, and then meet Mr Hibberd at an agreed location.

Potentially, these private hire drivers can lose their licence, but so far none in Oxford has for illegally plying for hire.

Private hire drivers are not allowed to be flagged down first and then booked over the phone

Mr Hibberd said firms allocated their drivers based on availability and fairness, to ensure all drivers get fares, so passengers would not be guaranteed to get the one they have flagged down.

City councillor Saj Malik, who represents Cowley Marsh, has been a taxi driver for more than 20 years.

On an evening which saw him carry passengers who were mostly the worse for wear to Wolvercote, Cholsey, Greater Leys and Risinghurst, he said: “You pick up all sorts of people in the back of your cab.

“I have picked up George Galloway and Douglas Hurd, but it is the youngsters you have got to watch out for – the ones aged between 17 and 21 – because when they are on a night out, they don’t know when to stop.”

Mr Malik said: “On Saturday nights us cabbies are the eyes and ears of the police.

Source: Oxford Mail

Wonder if the Officer in charge of Oxfords licensing team, wants John Mason's job?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Collapse of Manganese Bronze – the insider’s view

I was one of the 156 made redundant by LTI in October, so hope I can throw in my penny’s worth …
A lot has been said about the TX4 needing to be updated. This is very true, it was starved of development cash and the number of R&D staff at LTI had already been reduced by over 60% over a two year period – the directors actually converted their department into a plush new directors suite! How ironic.

To the public, it did appear that LTI were looking at new, greener drivetrains – especially the much publicised hydrogen fuel cell TX4. This was a sham, they did practically nothing in developing this, but some creative accounting ensured that government grants were passed between the ‘pioneering’ development partners. Hydrogen will not work anyway, not without the fuelling infrastructure – just ask Honda.

LTI directors had a golden opportunity to save the company as far back as two years ago, in the shape of a fully engineered electric TX4 developed by a Dutch company. Electrification is one of the few things that is in the TX4′s favour. With its old fashioned ladder chassis, it can carry twice the battery power of a ‘modern’ monocoque vehicle. Hence why the eTX4s operating in Amsterdam had a range of 250km, more than enough for a taxi shift – and a fast charge time of under two hours.

So what did the exhalted leader of LTI do when he discovered that a third party had developed this sure fire winner for him? Nothing. For fear of losing hydrogen grant monies and worried that LTI’s Chinese partners would ‘steal’ the technology (plus a blinkered ‘it’ll never take off’ attitude), the CEO of LTI never even got of his well paid butt to view the car. Now, the chance is gone.
It would be easy for me to appear as a bitter ex-employee, but it’s more than that. Some of the decisions taken over the past 6 years by the Manganese Bronze and LTI boards have been bordering on criminal negligence. It’s no surprise either that of the 156 people made redundant in October, not a single one was a director. Despite the administrators running the company from that date, all directors remain in employment to this day.

Anyway, enough of my rant. What happens next? Geely will buy out the remains of LTI. NOT because they want to develop the TX4. All they want to do is ensure that they are not the ones seen to have killed the iconic London Cab. They will produce it in China and use the UK operation as a sales arm only. The reason why? They want to break into the UK general car market and don’t need negative PR at the outset, so they’ll ‘save’ the company and build a sales operation with a view to car sales, not taxis.

In reality, there are no assets to sell off – the Coventry site was sold and leased back years ago, so no other asset strippers would be interested. The numbers don’t make sense to any other party to manufacture the cabs, the development cash required is just too great.

I’ll leave it at that as I’ve just realised how much I’d typed – sorry for boring you all. What happens next to the London Taxi market is a very interesting one – although I know for a fact that it’s being protected using some pretty underhand measures at present. Boris is desperately trying to keep the current conditions in place in the hope that the London Cab will return – but I don’t think it will, and the market will legally have to open up.

The TX4 had the potential to be great. Great concept with a great workforce behind it – but it was put through a slow death by incompetent board direction. You cannot just blame the Chinese – they saw an opportunity and took it. Unfortunately, the blame lies very much closer to home.

Further comments from Matt Insider.
As you’ll know, the only two cabs that meet the conditions of fitness at the moment are the TX4 and the Vito, but you can only buy a Vito at present because LTI are in administration. The Vito is £41950,a pretty expensive cab, but it has a current monopoly on the London market only because of it’s rear wheel steering to meet the 25 foot turning circle laid down in regulation 181. However, it’s the trade’s worst kept secret that most Euro4 Vitos have suffered from serious problems with their RWS.

I know for a fact that many Vito drivers pull the fuses on the RWS and are therefore operating in London without meeting reg 181.

A quick call to Transport for London made it clear that they knew of problems but seemed to be turning a blind eye because ‘if we took them off the road, there wouldn’t be any cabs to supply’.

The supplier of the vehicle, KPM, appear to be fully aware of the problems and that cabbies have been pulling fuses. A call to VOSA confirmed that they knew of the issue too, but they will not force a recall as it’s not life threatening due to the RWS only operating at under 5mph. So, why? I suspect that regulation 181 is being kept in place in order in the hope that LTI get back into production. The London administration want to keep the ‘iconic’ London Black Cab, but it’ll never return to the levels it enjoyed in the past without massive investment – most cabbies have just had enough. Also, Vito driving cabbies don’t want a recall either – they’ve seen what happened when LTI had to pull 400+ cabs off the streets of London!

It’s a ridiculous situation though and, even though every other major UK city has thrown out regulation 181 and opened up the market to other makes, it appears that London is digging it’s heels in. It can’t last though, there has already been a judicial review in Liverpool stating that the regulation is unjust and against a free market.
It’ll end up going to court again and TfL will spend lots of taxpayers money fighting a fight they can’t win.

Much as I hate to say it, the regulations will get overturned sooner or later and, unless a buyer is found for LTI with very deep R&D pockets, the TX4 will be fighting for it’s life again. A Chinese built TX4 without immediate development isn’t going to find many buyers in London, not given recent events.

I’m hearing the same very strong rumours about the Nissan failing a COF test – very interesting!! Also hear that TfL are very close to a re-think of the London COF. They always very protective of their specific conditions (ie the turning circle), but it doesn’t appear that there’s any appetite for a fight as newcomers try and open up the market. Probably a good thing, what with the continued uncertainty (what are the administrators doing?) over LTI’s future and the increasing concerns over the Vito’s rear wheel steering. If, as is widely predicted, Geely take over LTI and build soley in China, then the TX4 becomes a far less relevant product. Already seen as under-developed and of low quality, I can’t see a ‘made in China’ sticker driving huge numbers of cabbies into their showrooms. Equally, the Vito’s reputation is taking a hammering at present – the RWS issues persist along with rumours of a large number operating in London with it disconnected – a serious breach of the London COF.

All a bit of a mess really……..