Friday, April 25, 2014

Minicab Driver Forfeits Proceeds From Touting.

Touts, illegally plying for hire both sides of the Haymarket, outside Tiger Tiger

A minicab driver who earned £11,000 while touting has had his earnings forfeited, following an investigation by the MPS Safer Transport Command (STC).

Mustafa Ahmed, 28 years (dob 25/01/1986) of Saxon Road, E3, was convicted of touting in 2009 and had his Private Hire Vehicle licensed revoked by Transport for London.

In October 2012 he came to the attention of the STC Payback Unit after officers identified that he had continued to operate as an unlicenced minicab driver even though his licence had been revoked in 2009.

On 23 November 2012, following a pro-active operation, officers arrested him on suspicion of money laundering after he was found in possession of £5,000. A further £13,000 was seized after officers searched his home address.

Officers began civil proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act against Ahmed as they believed the money was earned whilst he operated as an illegal minicab driver.

On Wednesday, 23 April 2014 at Westminster Magistrates' Court, police successfully argued that £11,000 of the money seized was the proceeds of touting, which resulted in the court ordering it to be forfeited.

This tout ( DN08TLJ, PHV Plate Number 139020
) can regularly be found every weekend, illegally plying for hire at the top of the Haymarket, parked in the 24 hour bus lane. 
To our knowledge this vehicle has never received a bus lane violation PCN.

Just as we all thought, many drivers convicted of touting carry on regardless after having their PH licence revoked as if nothing's happened.

The Private Hire Act (as we all know) is full of loop holes:
 1. It should not be legal for anyone other than a licensed Private Hite driver to be able to register a vehicle as a PHV. Many vehicles are licensed solely to avoid paying congestion charge. Drivers who have failed police checks and drivers who have had their PHVs revoked can still be in procession of a plated minicab.
 2. PHVs should not be able to be sold on with PHV licence still intact and valid. You can just turn up at certain garages and drive off with a vehicle plated by NSL. It should be a requirement that PHV roundels should are handed back when vehicle is sold on.

 3. There should by more checks by compliance teams on drivers illegally plying for hire outside clubs and bars, much in the same way compliance teams do badge & bill checks on licensed Taxi drivers at station Taxi ranks.

Just how many minicabs are driven at night by disqualified drivers?
The Mets Safer Travel Command along with TfL compliance seem reluctant to enforce the laws appertaining to private hire for fear of increasing the already horrendous crime figures. Every now and then we get a high profile case like this one, just to give the impression that these agencies are doing their job, when in fact the opposite is the truth. 

Every night the public are put at risk as enforcement agents turn a blind eye. This years, statistics for reported serious sexual assaults including rapes across London have increased by 32%. This is on top of the Mets admission that 90% of attacks go unreported.
The Met admitted in the PoP Clapham report, that there are somewhere in the region of 25 minicab related sexual attacks every week.

Recently an MPs daughter was the victim of a minicab sexual attack and we all thought something would now be done. Last night, in the Clapham area of the attack, thousands of licensed and unlicensed minicabs were illegally plying for hire, touting openly outside clubs and bars....nothing has changed in Clapham, in fact it's worse. There now seems to be more illegal touts than ever.

TfL's record on conviction for illegal plying for hire beggars believe, currently standing at just one conviction in fourteen years.


1 comment:

Rev. (Unordained) V Haldady said...

Yes and even that one was a guilty plea, perhaps that guilty party was offered a deal to save TfL blushes?

Who says crime does not pay, remember we the public and we the licencees spent millions financing the pay and perks of the management of TfL for this paltry return.

That GLA enquiry can't come soon enough.