Sunday, June 30, 2013


27th June 2013

Our '85th anniversary' outing to Southend-on-Sea took place on Thursday 27th June and was a brilliant and huge success, with 300 'special needs' and underprivileged children being treated to a day they will remember for a long time.

The weather was great and the smiles on the children's faces and continuous laughter from them all day was a joy to behold. 


In the meantime in case you missed the ITV news coverage, please click on the link below.


A group of taxi drivers have taken three hundred children on a trip to the seaside today. A brave thing to do, but the kind-hearted cabbie's organise the trip every year. They do it, to take children out of London to enjoy a day out in Southend as Jenny Line reports.

The Hon. President, Hon. Chair and Committee would like to give sincere thanks to all the drivers, helpers, sponsors and entertainers for making the day possible.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Police try to re-route charity walk in East London.

Met Police logo

The Metropolitan Police Service has imposed conditions on an intended procession and assembly in Woolwich on Saturday 29 June due to concerns that they may result in serious public disorder and serious  disruption to the local community. 


We have been liaising with the organisers of a charity walk in East London since it was first proposed earlier this month.   


We have worked with the organisers to facilitate their event but due to concerns that a route via the East London Mosque would result in public disorder we offered them two alternative routes that avoided the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.  


To date the organisers have declined to agree to either of these alternative routes.


Yesterday, Thursday 27th June we advised them of conditions which we have imposed on the procession and also on the proposed assembly in Woolwich. 


The Section 12 (3) notice under the Public Order Act 1986 imposes a route on the proposed procession of EDL members and supporters starting at Hyde Park Corner and ending at Old Palace Yard. 


The condition has been imposed due to concerns that the procession may result in serious public disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community. 


The Section 14 (3) notice under the Public Order Act 1986 imposes conditions on persons organising or taking part in the public assembly, which means that the assembly can only take place at Old Palace Yard, London SW1 opposite the House of Lords, and Palace of Westminster in the City ofWestminster.  The maximum duration is two hours from the start of the assembly. Again the conditions have been imposed due to concerns that the assembly may result in serious disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community if allowed to take place in East London as proposed.     


Commander Mark Chishty, said;  
The decision to apply the conditions under section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act was taken based on current community tensions, the current intelligence picture about Saturday and recent marches and protests held by similar groups. As part of the MPS assessment of current community tensions the views of a range of local representatives have been sought. Taking all these factors into consideration the MPS has made an operational policing decision to take this approach, and believes it to be proportionate in these specific circumstances.

Breach of the conditions is a criminal offence, and anyone breaching them may find themselves liable to arrest.

Taxi Trade In Northern Ireland: One Year Reprieve , While They Wait For New Legislation From Law Commission Submission.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood has announced that single tier licensing for taxis will be put back until September 2014.

Single tier licensing was originally intended to come into effect in September 2013 and would have meant that the public would have been able to pick up any taxi, public or private, in Belfast without having to pre book. 

The Department of the Environment (DOE) launched a consultation on single tier arrangements between 8 May and 5 June 2013. Concerns were raised during the consultation process. The Environment Committee also raised concerns regarding implementing single tier licensing in advance of a suite of legislation relating to the restructuring of the taxi industry in Northern Ireland.

Alex Attwood said: “My strategy has been to work with all of the taxi industry to do the best for the taxi industry. This has meant, despite some political criticism, that I slowed down the roll out of taxi reform, to reduce cost and administrative burden. 

“Very late on in this process, some in the industry have said that the big reform coming together in 2014, rather than rolled out over 2013 and 2014 is better. The arguments have come late but some of the arguments are good.

“I have listened to the concerns raised in the consultation process. I have listened to the Environment Committee, particularly regarding their recommendation that the suite of changes should come together as a cohesive and coordinated package. Therefore, I have decided that rather than bringing in single tier licensing this year, it will be implemented in 2014 along with a suite of legislation to reform the Northern Ireland taxi industry.”

The suite of legislation will include provisions for a regulated taxi fare and taxi meter system which will make it mandatory for all taxis to adhere to regulated fare and meter requirements; taxi vehicle regulations which will include a wheelchair accessibility specification and a separate licensing regime for contracted services such as limousines and wedding cars; and the introduction of a driving test for new drivers and periodic training for all taxi drivers.

The Minister continued: “I have also listened to the views of the taxi industry on this particular issue including those views from the Private Hire, Belfast Public Hire, Public Hire outside Belfast, and Taxi bus sectors as well as the Consumer Council, voluntary and disability organisations such as IMTAC and Disability Action. I am committed to introducing all elements of the taxi reform programme together, including single tier licensing, in 2014.

“To help get the taxis industry right, I am also initiating a new stream of work. This will aim to work with Belfast Public Hire taxis drivers to build up their business model, learn from other taxis models, identify ways and means to protect Belfast Public Hire interests, enhance training and business skills for drivers. This will help Belfast Public Hire. This will help the taxi industry."

1. The Department had originally intended to introduce a single tier licensing system from September 2013. However, the Department is now introducing single tier licensing from September 2014. 

2.The Department is committed to working with taxi industry representatives, the Consumer Council, and voluntary and disability organisations to ensure an agreed way forward on the suite of legislation is achieved and implemented by September 2014. 

3. The Department is also launching a public consultation on the taxi driver test and periodic training which will issue during the summer recess.

4. The Department intends to introduce a suite of legislation relating to maximum fare structure for all taxis operating in Northern Ireland in 2014; taxi vehicle regulations which will include a wheelchair accessibility specification and a separate licensing regime for special occasion and novelty vehicles; and the aforementioned taxi driver test. 

5. Consultation which concluded on 5th June 2013 received around 750 responses, the majority of which objected to the introduction of single tier licensing. This consultation was supplementary to a full public consultation which took place between July and September 2011 where 84% of respondents were in favour of the introduction of single tier licensing.

UPDATE: Rapist Wendell Baker Sentenced To Life

Walthamstow rapist sentenced to life in prison over 1997 sex attack on pensioner

A man found guilty of rape earlier this week has today been sentenced to life in prison following a hearing at the Old Bailey.

Wendell Baker, 56, of Upper Walthamstow Road, Walthamstow, was told by the judge that he committed a crime of 'extreme violence and depravity.'

Baker was found guilty of raping pensioner Hazel Backwell in her own home in 1997 but walked free in 1999 after a judge ruled out crucial DNA evidence.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two charged with sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl

Two men, one of whom is a member of police staff, have been charged with sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl.

[B] Mohammad Imran Shabbir, 33 (dob 17.08.79), a member of MPS police staff of The Hyde, NW9, appears on bail at Hendon Magistrates' Court on Monday, 1 July charged with two counts of sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl between 1 May 2011 and 31 May 2011 (cont. Sec 3 Sexual Offences Act).

[A] Muhammad Farhan Shabbir, 24 (dob 04.07.88), of The Hyde, NW9 appears on bail at Hendon Magistrates' Cour on Monday, 1 July charged with two counts of sexual assault on a 13-year-old girl between 1 January 2011 and 31 March 2011 (cont. Sec 3 Sexual Offences Act).

Blackpool Cabbies On The Pull This Week End.

Cabbies will be getting out from behind the wheel on Sunday and using their own power to move their vehicles for a good cause.

This year’s annual taxi pull starts at 1pm on Sunday, at Blackpool Tower and the drivers are giving up their free time and energy to haul three taxis down the promenade by hand.

They will be going to the Pleasure Beach and then return back up to the Cenotaph with collection buckets.

Last year the taxi pull raised a grand total of £1,187 raised for the Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee, who help to look after ex-service personnel in and around the Fylde.

The event takes place every year as part of the Veterans Week celebrations.

Last year and in celebration of the Jubilee the drivers pulled three Hackney cabs in red, white and blue and raised £1,187 and the same cabs will be used again this time. For more information, visit or search Twitter for@BPoolTaxiPull.

Man Jailed Under Double Jeopardy Legislation For Rape In 1997 Of A Pensioner

A man who brutally attacked, raped and left a woman locked in a cupboard for 15 hours has been found guilty today, Tuesday 25 June, in a landmark double jeopardy historic case at the Old Bailey. 

Wendell Wilberforce Baker 56 (07.03.57), was convicted of the rape of Hazel Backwell, 66 (15.05.30) which took place in January 1997 at her home address in Litchfield Avenue, E15.

He will be sentenced on Friday 28 June

The investigation, known as Operation Starfield, began after retired Mrs Backwell - who has sadly since died - was raped in the early hours of 23 January 1997. She had woken up to find Baker standing on a chair in front of her wardrobe.

Startled and frightened at finding Baker in her room, she asked him what he was doing. Baker shouted at her not to look at him and he jumped down off the chair and pulled the blankets over her head. Her hands were tied up with flex and Baker began hitting Mrs Backwell before later raping her.

After Baker subjected her to the rape she was locked in a cramped cupboard for 15 hours where she was unable to stand properly. Mrs Backwell desperately called out for help and was eventually found by a friend who happened to be passing. Police have no doubt she would have died had she not been found. 

An investigation began at a borough level and DNA samples were taken from the victim and sent to the national DNA database. No match was shown.

In January 1998 Baker was arrested for a burglary in Hackney. On arrest he gave a saliva sample which was sent to the national database. Baker was charged with burglary but later acquitted of the offence. 

The law at that time stated that DNA of an individual could only be retained if they were convicted of a recordable offence. The burglary sample should therefore have been destroyed, but remained on the database and showed a clear match with DNA from the rape. There was only a one in 17 million chance that they were not from the same person.

On the basis of the DNA match, Baker was arrested on 15 October 1998 and charged with the rape of Mrs Backwell. He refused to provide a fresh DNA sample, so - as permitted by law - a sample of his hair was taken and used to provide a second DNA sample, which also matched that taken from Hazel Backwell. 

However, as Baker had been arrested and charged with the rape only on the basis of the saliva sample from the burglary, which should have been destroyed, the defence argued that the match should not be disclosed to the jury.

The rape trial was discontinued by the Judge on 19 June 1999 and Baker was acquitted of the rape of Mrs Backwell. The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) appealed the Judge's decision but lost. 

The case was taken to the House of Lords in December 2000 and an appeal was granted but this did not change the fact that Baker had been acquitted.

In 2001, prompted in part by the House of Lords judgment, the then Home Secretary Jack Straw announced plans under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 to retain all genetic samples on the database indefinitely, even when a suspect was acquitted.

Sadly Hazel Backwell died, aged 72, in 2002 before seeing a change in the law that would allow her case to be heard before a jury.

After new legislation regarding the double jeopardy rule became effective in 2005 (meaning individuals could be tried twice, in certain circumstances, for the same specified serious offences), officers from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command (HSCC) Special Casework Investigation Team were assigned in October 2007 to re-investigate the rape, as it fulfilled the criteria for double jeopardy.

However, when officers tried to obtain the original case files, they found they had not been retained. The MPS approached the court, the CPS and the House of Lords, none of whom had retained copies of the case papers.

On 30 July 2009, BBC Panorama broadcast a programme on double jeopardy and referenced the rape of Mrs Backwell. 

In 2010, officers established that the original defence solicitors had retained a set of case papers which he obtained from them by court order. 

The authority of the Director of Public Prosecution had to be obtained for police to further investigate Baker. He was then re-arrested for the rape of Hazel Backwell on 14 September 2011. He gave a DNA sample which matched the sample from the rape. He was charged with the offence and remanded in custody.

Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Burgess, head of the Specialist Crime Review Group, said: “This was a horrendous and brutal assault on a lone female in her home. Baker subjected Hazel to a frightening and terrifying attack and callously locked her in a cupboard where she feared she may never be found.

“It is down to true strength of character that Hazel survived the ordeal and was able to bravely provide a statement to police giving a detailed account of what Baker had put her through.

“Sadly Hazel passed away in 2002 and it is deeply regrettable that she is unable to see justice being served today. 

“Baker has continued to protest his innocence for 16 years and has shown no remorse for the depraved crime he committed.

“I would like to praise the family of Hazel Backwell who have been dignified and shown a tremendous amount of courage throughout their fight in seeing justice for Hazel. I hope that today’s conviction goes some way in providing closure for the family who have endured so much.

“I would also like to thank the CPS for their co-operation in assisting us in bringing this case before a judge and jury.

“A change in the law has allowed us to achieve the result we have today. Offenders need to know that where possible the MPS will continue review cases where new and compelling evidence presents itself and work towards putting these cases before the court.” 

NON ATTRIBUTABLE: Statement from the family of Hazel Backwell 

NON ATTRIBUTABLE: “Hazel’s life was completely changed after the rape and attack. She felt unable to stay in her own home due to fear. She then had to move into warden assisted flat. 

“Hazel had to leave her own home where she had lived and been very happy for over 30 years. She very much loved her home and garden and had to leave behind some very good friends. Hazel had to also give up her much loved cat which broke her heart as she was unable to keep her cat in her new flat.

“Hazel never settled into the warden assisted flat as it never felt like her own home. She only went out when taken by a friend as she was to frightened to go out on her own but even this was very rare.

“Hazel never got over her ordeal and the family believe she died with a very sad and broken heart. After the rape and attack her life was never to be the same again. This led to the last few years of her life being very lonely and sad and very afraid.

“The family of Hazel Backwell are now very grateful that after fifteen years the police and CPS have been able to bring this case to a satisfactory conclusion. On behalf of Hazel Backwell the family are very pleased that justice has now been done but it is sad our mum is not here to witness the outcome

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Make no mistake, men are coming to kill us

The Law Commission is currently reviewing all legislation relating to taxi and private hire vehicles. This review, which officials claim is designed to simplify the legislation, could potentially deregulate the industry and as such is a threat to members’ livelihoods. 

If the Law Commission recommendations get accepted and become law, all the previous Hackney Carriage laws and London Cab Acts dating back to the first Hackney Carriage act of 1831, will be repealed. In effect, 182 years of case law history will be binned. 

Famous cases such as;
will no longer form the basis of judgements in legal actions. (Click on names to read cases)

The interim statement from the Law Commission does not commit to legally defining plying for hire. Instead, in their words they will be taking "the more modern approach of pre bookings"


There is to be a mass lobby of Parliament taking place on the 2nd July at 4pm.
RMT, along with Unite and the GMB, is participating in this lobby of Parliament in order to ensure that MPs are aware of our views on any changes to legislation.

The rally will take place in Committee Room 10 from 4pm to 6pm on Tuesday 2nd July. Members of all Trade unions and Org's are encouraged to arrange to meet their Member of Parliament on the day, in order to express their opposition to any further deregulation of the trade. In order to lobby your MP please arrive at 1.30pm.

Please use the box below to contact your MP and get him to meet in committee room 10
Contact Your MP/MEP/AM
Enter your Postcode below:

The Lobby of Parliament is our last chance saloon, so put your hand in your coat and make like you have a gun


Below is a template letter if you have trouble composing one for yourself. 


I'm contacting you is in regards to the interim Law Commission report on License Tax& Private Hire.

As a London Hackney Carriage driver and constituent I have concerns that proposals in the report imply statutory underpinning of private hire with no intentions to define 'plying for hire'.

As I'm sure you are aware this is the vital distinction between Licensed Taxi and Private Hire vehicle and any move away from this could have serious implications on the hackney carriage trade taking work away in an already competitive market.


In reference to section 5 of the report:

''We suggest moving away from the out-dated concept of plying for hire and use instead a more modern definition of the limits to the way private hire services may be offered, using the concept of pre-booking (which would be statutorily defined) through a licensed operator''

Next week on July 2nd there is a trade lobbying of parliament with delegates from trade associations. If possibleI I would urge you to attend the meeting in committee room 10 between 4-6pm.


Yours sincerely,


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

City Of London Corporation To Introduce Blanket 20mph Zone

This report advocates the adoption of a 20mph speed limit in all City streets, including those managed by Transport for London. It is in two main parts: this report, which deals directly with the main points, and then two appendices, the first of which amplifies those points, and the second which provides some standard responses to what we expect will be frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Casualty figures in the City have shown a steady increase over the last three years with some 423 casualties in 2012 including 57 killed or seriously injured (KSI). This is despite continuation of our traditional programme of road safety measures. The reason for the increase is that the nature of the usage of City streets is changing. 

There has been a dramatic rise in the numbers of cyclists and pedestrians, and with the advent of Crossrail increasing the number of pedestrians and the encouragement of cycling generally, these numbers can only increase. Compared with the rest of London, in the City these groups are disproportionately highly represented in the casualty statistics. The situation can therefore only get worse unless we do something different.

Our strategy to reverse the rising casualty numbers is the recently adopted Road Danger Reduction Plan (RDRP). This sets out a whole range of measures to be undertaken between now and 2020. 

All of these have different cost to benefit ratios. We are already doing the more straightforward things, with an innovative education, training and publicity programme (ETP); 
     *minor junction improvements; 
     *driver behaviour and vehicle improvement programmes; 
     *major junction improvements, like at Holborn Circus, where we are spending £3M on what is our worst casualty location. 

We have also delivered schemes like Cheapside, where there has been an average speed reduction of over 4 mph (and no collisions resulting in casualties), through narrowing the carriageway. But measures like these take time and to achieve City-wide results would be prohibitively expensive. This is why, in the Plan, it was also agreed that the pros and cons of introducing a reduction in the speed limit across the City should be examined.

This report looks at whether and how such a limit would make a difference. The findings are that it would, with predicted casualty savings of between 8–9%, i.e., around 30–40 casualties per annum, which would be a significant step towards our published target of 30% by 2020. The report also estimates implementation costs at £100k–£150k which, with the achievement of predicted casualty savings, would make this approach highly cost effective. 

The other main findings of the study include:
     *Traffic speeds would be reduced by the introduction of a 20mph limit
     *The often-quoted low average speeds within the City mask both streets where average speeds are over 20mph and also peak traffic speeds at various times such as evenings and weekends. Secondary benefits such as reduced pollution and health improvements through modal shift to cycling are likely to occur.
     * There is little or no disbenefit to introducing a 20mph speed limit and in particular journey-time increases would be minimal given the size of the City (typically the journey time for the longest route through the City, i.e., from Victoria Embankment to Byward Street, is not expected to exceed 1 minute even during free flow conditions).
     * Transport for London (TfL), City of London Police (CoLP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) support the introduction.
The report goes on to discuss how a limit might be introduced and signed, without the need for traffic calming measures.
It is recommended that Members agree the following:

     1. Subject to the agreement of the Court of Common Council, public notice of the City‟s intention to make an order prohibiting the driving of motor vehicles on all streets in the City of London for which the City is the local traffic authority at more than 20mph be given
     2. That any objections that are made to the making of that order be reported to your Planning and Transportation Committee for consideration
     3. That the costs of implementing a 20mph limit be met through Local Implementation Programme funding with approval being sought to utilise the „on street parking reserve‟ in the event of any shortfall.

 Main Report

1. Over the last three years, the usage of City streets has changed. There are now 3 times the number of cyclists that there were 10 years ago, and pedestrian numbers are rising and with Crossrail on the horizon are set to go on rising. Vehicular traffic has remained steady, and with congestion charging now established, few people now drive to the City, other than taxis or to make deliveries, although the Transport for London (TfL) routes are still busy with through traffic.

2. The City has continued with all the road safety measures it has traditionally used. For example, we have a comprehensive package of road safety education for cyclists and in schools and we have improved junctions, both large (like at Mansion House Station) and small (as with courtesy crossings). We have introduced two- way cycling in 50 one-way streets as a measure to help encourage cyclists off the main streets. And yet our casualty figures continue to rise.

3. A reflection of the change in the street usage mix has been that the City has a disproportionately high number of cyclists and pedestrians involved in collisions, compared to the Inner London boroughs. The objective, for London and nationally, is the reduction of casualties where people are killed or seriously injured (KSI). Within London, the vulnerable user groups of pedestrians, cyclists and powered two wheel riders comprise 76% of the KSI total, which is high by national standards. Within the City, the percentage is even higher: 93% of those killed or seriously injured in 2012 were vulnerable road users.

4. The road safety activity over the last decade has made the streets safer for most users but there has been an increase in casualties over the last few years. There is, therefore, a need to change perceptions, expectations and behaviours if the target reduction in casualties is to be met. Put very simply, by 2020, the annual number of casualties within the City needs to be reduced by 165 from the 2012 figure if we are to meet our Local Implementation Plan (LIP) targets.

5. The Road Danger Reduction Plan sets out targets and a range of actions to address the City‟s road safety issues and to meet the requirements under the Mayor‟s Transport Strategy. Introduction of a 20mph limit would be a significant step forward in the implementation of the plan.

6. The Mayor of London has set out his in principle support of reducing speed limits to 20mph in London in his Road Safety Action Plan for London entitled Safe Streets for London (the Mayor‟s Action Plan). Published in June 2013 the document says there are now more than 400 20mph zones in London. It states that approximately 9% of KSI collisions are speed related and that TfL will seek to support the installation of new zones and limits through LIPs.

7. Officers have:

     *Conducted a literature search including reviewing experience with 20mph environments from elsewhere in the United Kingdom and overseas;
     *Commissioned a specific air quality impacts study from Imperial College London;
     *Obtained average spot speed data for the City based on a study of 59 City streets;
     *Had regard to the Department for Transport‟s recently introduced speed limit appraisal tool;
     *Scoped the infrastructure required to implement a 20mph limit; and
     *Assessed the predicted impacts.

8. The data collected and used in this investigation and a thorough analysis of the impacts are attached as Appendix 1 to this report.
Current Speeds

9. Members will be aware that the often-quoted speed for City traffic is about 8mph. This is the “space mean speed” and is calculated by conducting surveys of cars moving between two points along specific streets during the morning, lunchtime and evening peak periods, on a week day.

10. So to measure the typical speed of vehicles in free-flowing traffic the speed of vehicles at a midway point along a number of streets was collected. These data are referred to as the “spot mean speed”. Data were gathered for all vehicles passing a specific point for two weeks and for 24 hours a day. This is the standard data collection technique recommended by the Department for Transport.

11. The average spot mean speed throughout the City is 22mph. The average at Upper Thames Street is 28mph, on Aldersgate Street it is 22mph and on the recently narrowed Cheapside it is 16mph.

12. Clearly there is a variation in speed throughout the day and night and also a variation between weekdays and weekends, but any street where vehicles travel in excess of 20mph has the potential to deliver speed reduction, and therefore casualty reduction.
Journey Times

13. Maximum increased journey times during the free-flow conditions of the small hours of the morning have been independently assessed as being no more than 1 minute across the City (Victoria Embankment–Byward Street), provided that speed limits are not exceeded. This is, however, not representative of the majority of journeys across the City which have an origin or destination in the City where increased journey times over a representative 1.6 mile-journey would be 25 seconds on average.
Current Casualties

14. The Department for Transport (DfT) indicate that a reduction of 6% of casualties can be achieved for each 1 mph reduction in average speed. These data have been gathered from locations throughout the country where 20 mph speed limits have been introduced.

15. Total casualties in the City in 2012 were 423. Of these, 57 were in the killed and seriously injured (KSI) category. The numbers continue to increase for the third year in a row. These figures include casualties that occur on Transport for London roads within the City.

16. From analysis of casualties in the City it can be shown that 87% of all pedestrian injuries and approximately 80% of all cyclist injuries resulted from collisions with motor vehicles.

17. Overall 93% of the KSI casualties in 2012 were vulnerable users: pedestrians, cyclists and powered two wheelers. Speed is not recorded as a factor for most of the collisions within the City but then the Police do not record speed as acontributory factor if the vehicle was travelling at less than the prevailing speed limit (i.e., 30mph).

18. Officers have used the DfT analysis to estimate a reduction in casualties in the City as result of a 20mph speed limit. This produces an estimated reduction in casualties of 35 per annum. Casualties on those streets where the spot mean speed is already at or below 20mph have been discounted. Where the spot mean speed is above 20mph, a casualty reduction of 6% is predicted for each mile per hour above 20mph, up to a maximum reduction of 4mph. (The evidence used for the DfT‟s Circular also indicates that 4mph is the maximum reduction in average speed that can expected from a 20mph speed limit without a significant increase in enforcement activity).

19. As a result, casualty reductions are likely to be greatest on those streets where the spot mean speeds are at least 24mph.

20. This is of course an estimate based on national experience, but we have local evidence to support this. Several years ago, Transport for London introduced a 20mph limit on Upper Thames Street between Swan Lane and Queen Street to facilitate the refurbishment of Walbrook Wharf. There was a dramatic reduction in casualties. The three-year casualty total before the speed-limit reduction was nine and the total for the three years of the 20mph limit was nil.

21. In addition, as well as reducing the number of casualties, a 20mph speed limit would be likely to reduce the severity of casualties. 

Traffic Calming
22. Department for Transport guidance for an authority like the City, with an average speed of 

22mph, is that a speed limit on its own will be substantially self-enforcing and does not require physical speed reducing features along a street such as chicanes or speed humps.
What Are Others Doing?

23. On 6 June the Mayor of London published his Safe Streets for London strategy document. In it he sets out his support for 20mph speed limits in appropriate locations and advises that there are now some 400 20mph zones across London covering 19% of the total London road network.

24. Transport for London has indicated that, in principle, they support the introduction of a 20mph speed limit for all of their streets within the City of London. Therefore it is proposed that the limit would cover all streets within the City.

25. All boroughs surrounding the City, with the exception of the City of Westminster, have adopted 20mph for all, or most, of their area.

26. Internationally, New York, Paris and Tokyo have, or plan to, introduce substantial speed-reduction initiatives in at least part of those cities.

27. The City has already introduced 20mph for several minor streets:
 Watling Street;
 Baltic Street West;
 Golden Lane; and
 Chiswell Street.

28. The City of London Police support the introduction of a 20mph speed limit for the City and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have recently made clear their support for appropriately introduced urban 20mph speed limits. In reviewing the practicalities of implementation, the Commissioner has noted that the existing speed cameras in the City are not suitable for the enforcement of 20mph speed restrictions and therefore that, if any 20mph speed limit is not successful in being self enforcing, there may be a need for additional enforcement resources (for new speed cameras and additional back-office penalty charge notice processing). The provision of resources to address this issue is a specific action for TfL set out in the recent Mayor‟s Safe Streets for London action plan.

Health and Wellbeing
29. The World Health Organization has stated that “One of the most effective ways to improve pedestrian safety is to reduce the speed of vehicles” and lists area-wide lower speed limits (e.g., 

30km/h or 20mph limits) as an intervention of proven effectiveness in improving pedestrian safety.

30. Modal shift to cycling as a result of better conditions for cycling, resulting from a 20mph speed limit, would assist in improving public health. Similarly public health
benefits would also result from modal shift to walking, although these benefits are likely to be less as the potential for modal shift to walking is less.
Air Pollution Effects

31. The likely air pollution effects resulting from a 20mph speed limit have been studied by Imperial College London under a commission from the City. The likely effects are complex and are different for petrol vehicles and for diesel vehicles, and for larger vehicles (e.g., goods vehicles) and smaller vehicles (e.g., cars). The composition of the vehicle fleet using the City‟s streets is therefore a key determinant of the likely air quality effects. In general terms however, the study concludes that:
The effects of a 20mph speed restriction ... were shown to be mixed, with particular benefit seen for emissions of particulate matter and for diesel vehicles. The methodology was validated by consideration of real-world tailpipe emissions test data. It was therefore concluded that air quality is unlikely to be made worse as a result of 20mph speed limits on streets in London.

32. The project should cost £100k–£150k. The Mayor of London has stated in his Safe Streets for London action plan that he will support the installation of 20mph limits through LIP funding. It is proposed a specific bid be made for this purpose and that approval be sought to utilise the „on-street parking reserve‟ in the event of any shortfall.

33. The speed limit should be largely self-enforcing. The police are expected to carry on as existing although final enforcement requirements have not yet been quantified.

34. TfL will be requested to alter the traffic signal “green wave” to reinforce a maximum 20mph transit speed which should result in reduced delays due tored signals.

35. The changing usage of the City‟s streets means that radical action on reducing road danger is necessary. Introducing a 20mph limit City-wide is a cost-efficient and practical way of making such a radical change quickly. The evidence is that it will be effective in reducing both the number and severity of collisions; be largely self- enforcing; have no adverse impacts on air quality; and be seen to be contributing towards healthier lifestyles. It would fit with international, national and local moves in the same direction. The drawbacks are few: increased journey times when roads are quiet; and a cost of between £100k and £150k.

36. Its introduction cannot be a complete answer to a reduction of casualties and changed behaviours, and it would (if introduced) remain a part, albeit a significant part, of the City‟s holistic approach to road safety as set out in the Road Danger Reduction Plan.

Philip Everett
Director of the Built Environment
020 7332 1600 |

Craig Stansfield
Team Leader, Transportation Strategy and Programmes 020 7332 1702 |

Please Help Save Earls Court Exhibition Centres:


Why is this important?

The iconic Earl’s Court Exhibition Centres face demolition. The development will also require the demolition of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates, homes to 760 Hammersmith and Fulham residents, and not provide the urgently needed homes for average Londoners. This will have an impact on the UK Exhibitions Industry, the local and national economy and overload the capacity of the tube and road system in North-West London. The whole area will be developed to provide luxury apartments starting at £800,000, rather than affordable homes for displaced locals.
Think about the amount of work we get from big events and concerts held here.
We’ve reached a crucial point in our campaign - tomorrow, we’re going to be delivering signed postcards and copies of our petition to Boris Johnson, Mayor of London.

1. Please sign and share the petition one more time so we can get a final new signatures before the hand-in (note that the petition will be still running afterwards, to be submitted to Eric Pickles):

2. If you can make it to see the Mayor, come along. The more of us that are there, the more impact we can have. Here’s what you need to know:

When: Tuesday 25/06/13, 10 am
Where: Outside City Hall reception area

Hope to see you at the hand-in!

Save Earl's Court Campaign


The only building that will be left intact is the Empress State Building, which currently is home to the Met Police specialist agencies. The building is to be transformed into luxury apartments.
Lilly Bridge Depo which is the home of many 1st class workshops used by the underground, will also go. Lilly bridge Depo is though by many to be Unique and irreplaceable, these craftsmen will be lost to the industry for good.

Roman Holiday. By Taxi Leak's Roving Reporter.

Dear All,

Just back from a city break in Rome, very interesting and whilst they could be cruel, you have to admire the skill and genius of the Roman Builders etc.

Whilst there I (as ever) have a 'shufti' at the goings on at the local cab trade to see if there's anything we might consider.

Well let's start at the beginning, the cab trade in Rome is over two thousand years old and the first licence was issued to Thomasus Taxius who worked the forum rank.

Now today, there are ranks all over the city which seemed well served and by observation from my street cafe table ticked over nicely.

There is a Knowledge and the drivers are friendly and knowledgable, most are Romans born and bred and appear to get a decent living.

Cabs are all white, no liveries and can be any four door saloon. I asked about wheelchair cabs and found they have to be booked in advance or the other drivers are happy to radio for one but there is a Taxicard type scheme to discount fares.

Every cab has a sticker advertising the fixed price to and from the two airports to the city centre (within the Roman walls). It's about £40.00 all in and seems that the vast majority of hotels and punters use cabs and the airport rank again seemed to move nicely. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes to town from both.

Now here's some things we could do with:

1. There are different flag falls for day, evening and night rates, starting at 4.5 Euros and up to 6.5 Euros for nights.

2. Diesel is cheaper here and cabs get favourable treatment, as they are seen as essential services.

3. The first piece of luggage is free, then it's 1 euro a pop.

4. All the drivers and I mean ALL, are in the cab drivers section of the union who as we know, won't hesitate to defend their living.

5. There is PH but it must be pre booked timed ahead and its very much seen as a substandard service. I saw no evidence of touting and when I asked cab drivers if it happened, they just laughed and said no.(Here its PH that laughs!).

6. Every cab I saw was in good condition and clean.

So my friends, it seems that whilst we are still voted the worlds no.1 we are beginning to fall behind in terms and conditions.

As for Rome, very well worth a visit for the awe inspiring colosseum etc. etc. and it seems traffic lights and stopping at crossings is a optional pastime but surprisingly you soon become aware.

Food is good and prices as you would expect in the tourist spots are expensive, but on a par with us elsewhere.


PB the travelling man.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Mohamed Hacene-Chaouch, Persistent Tout, Serial Rapist Gets Seven YearsThree Months

A minicab driver was jailed for seven years and three months today after being found guilty of raping a female passenger.

Mohamed Hacene-Chaouch, 46, preyed on the drunk young woman after she had been celebrating a friend's birthday and had become separated from the group in Soho, central London, on January 26.


Sentencing the father-of-five at the Old Bailey, Judge Wendy Joseph said: "It must have been clear to you that she was helplessly and hopelessly drunk.

"She trusted you to take her safely home. She was clearly vulnerable, she was obviously helpless and in your power, and I regard this as a significant feature."

The woman, who is in her 20s, said the last thing she remembered was being in the back of a car and being taken to a cashpoint.

She said she drifted in and out of consciousness but woke in the car outside her east London home with Hacene-Chaouch sexually assaulting her.

He claimed the woman had approached him in Tottenham Court Road saying a black cab would not take her because she was too drunk and denied he was touting for trade or committing any sexual assault.

After Hacene-Chaouch, of Catford, south London, was found guilty following a trial at the Old Bailey last month, Judge Joseph told the jury he had been accused of a similar offence before.

He was accused of attacking a drunken woman passenger in 2004 after picking her up in the Tottenham Court Road area but was acquitted.

Wearing a dark grey suit, bespectacled Hacene-Chaouch, who is from Nigeria, did not show any emotion and stared straight ahead as the judge passed sentence.

But as he was told he would be prohibited from working or seeking work as a taxi driver for 10 years, he shouted "God is great, I'm innocent" towards his wife, who the court heard is standing by him and watched proceedings from the public gallery.

During mitigation, Gary Rutter, for the defence, said Hacene-Chaouch had not used any violence against the victim, did not prevent her from leaving his cab after the attack and did take her to her home.

But the judge said: "I haven't heard a single word of remorse in any way, shape or form."

She said a pre-sentence report indicated that the offence was related to his general attitude towards women.

Judge Joseph said he was "no stranger to the courts" as he also has a previous conviction for theft and five for taxi touting.

Hacene-Chaouch will also have to sign the sex offenders register for life.

Detective Constable Darren de St-Denis, of the Metropolitan Police's sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said: "I would like to praise the bravery of the victim in coming forward to the police in this distressing case and supporting the investigation.

"I would urge anyone to come forward to the police in such cases and work with us to convict these predatory males posing as minicab drivers who target women when they are at their most vulnerable."

Cyclist scarred for life warns others not to run red lights

A cyclist who cycled through a red light and crashed into the side of a taxi which left him needing over 200 stitches is warning other road users to take heed.

    Craig crashed head first through this taxi window leaving him scarred for life

Craig Dortkamp, an experienced cyclist was cycling to work during rush hour when he ran a red light at Holborn Circus. He found himself in the middle of a busy junction with traffic travelling in all directions.

       Police say Craig is lucky to have not sustained more serious injuries

As he attempted to make his way out, he crashed into the side of a taxi with his head smashing through the window, while not wearing a helmet.

Craig suffered a serious cut to the head which required surgery, he also suffered cuts across his face. However police say he was fortunate to not sustain more severe injuries.

He hopes by sharing his story he will discourage others from running red lights.

“I hope I don’t see any other cyclists running through a red light. If you don’t take that risk your chances of being hit by a vehicle are much slimmer and you probably won’t end up with scars on your face for the rest of your life like me.” - Craig Dortkamp 

Source ITV news