LACK OF JUSTICE David Lawrie, Director NPHTA

You have all heard me talking about CCTV. You have seen the passion, the enthusiasm, the commitment; in fact, some have even gone as far as to suggest that CCTV is all about money!

This could not be further from the truth; it is time to set out the situation right now and put this to bed once and for all.

For many years, as former chair of a local taxi association, I have seen drivers accused of offences which they could not have possibly committed. Some of them have been quite ludicrous and obviously could not have been committed by that driver, but we still see them lose their licence based on nothing more than the fact that there is “no defence”, leaving it as your word against theirs!

Conversely, drivers, including myself, are attacked, robbed, abused and beaten, but when the police are called - assuming they attend at all - the response is more often than not: “We will not be taking any further action due to lack of evidence.” So again, your word against theirs! But we do get the Victims of Crime letters offering support and counselling. No thanks - we just want justice; we want action to be taken against our abusers!


The very least we expect is a common-sense approach, or a similar approach to be taken regardless of the accuser. If there is no evidence, then why are drivers having their licences suspended or revoked, or their accounts deactivated?

If there is no defence, then why are the attackers not prosecuted, the same way as drivers are penalised for nothing more than an allegation, unsupported by evidence, unsub- stantiated and unlikely?


We have all seen the press releases, the articles each and every month, we all know of a friend or colleague within the trade who has been attacked, abused, verbally or physically, maimed, or killed. But the crucial question here is: How many of those attacks never get reported? How many never see the press, how many times do the police do nothing?

This is not a criticism of the police by any means, although there are some who simply do not care, and some who make comments such as: “It is just a part of the job, and you should accept it!” And another who said: “They don’t want to follow


the rules, that is why they are on strike!” Yes, these are actual quotes from actual police officers; the only response to that attitude is firstly hang your heads in shame and hang up your uniforms! Would you react the same way if it was a police officer subjected to such attacks? It is a part of the job, right? Needless to say, the officer who said: “They don’t want to follow the rules” was publicly reprimanded and left with his tail between his legs, but you get the idea.


The police are normally extremely supportive; they under- stand our plight and feel as frustrated about the lack of support as we do. In fact, most will tell you they could not do our job, as with door staff in night clubs.

Why? Imagine the scenario, we have all seen it: the drunks fight inside a nightclub and are quickly surrounded by multi- ple door staff to escort them out of the premises. They are not alone; there are usually at least two door staff working in tandem.

Once outside, these users (of whatever) are irate and angry - they kick off outside which triggers police attendance, who will either split them up or arrest them. The police are not alone; there is always more than one officer.

Now where do those aggressive, angry, irate drunks go? Into a taxi, as a group or even separated; the driver is alone and driving, out of sight of police or door staff, with no support, no backup, no help, with angry, annoyed, and potentially drunk or drugged passenger(s)!

The attackers, accusers, and abusers are invariably under some influence, so why is their word taken above that of a DBS cleared worker who has been deemed fit and proper (or safe and suitable), and to be trustworthy enough to transport children, the elderly and the vulnerable? Surely it cannot be a case of “the customer is always right”, can it?


Since the last edition of PHTM alone, there has been an example of a teenager threatening a driver with a gun. What was the punishment? 12-months’ suspended sentence - was that a slap on the wrist? Or more a pat on the back?

Another example was a thug who was not even a taxi or private hire customer, nor was he the driver of the third-party vehicle; he was a passenger in a van. His mate, the driver, decided to express his views and opinions about the private hire driver’s attempt to parallel park. But oh no, that was not good enough for his buddy, who in a fit of road rage decided


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