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LACK OF EQUALITY


to attack the PHV driver, drag him around by his coat and fling him across the pavement, which resulted in the private hire driver sustaining a broken hip! This thug’s punishment? Another suspended sentence - no punishment at all.


Now we move on to the other side of the coin. Allegations:


Recently there was a report made to the police that a driver had collected a passenger alone, from a bar in the gay quar- ter; along the route, he had “forced” the passenger to receive oral sex. The driver received a prison sentence since he had no defence!


Think about that one for a moment: the proximity of the pas- senger to the driver; the accuser was sat down, presumably with trousers on, how exactly is this allegation even possible? and yet was “forced” to receive oral sex, whilst the vehicle was being driven!!! But the driver is in prison!


With CCTV as defence:


More recently we were asked to assist a police force in assist- ing a driver who had picked up a young lady from a rank the night before, but the following morning the lady could not remember a two-hour period from getting into the taxi, so she rang the police and made a report that “the driver must have done something to her on the way home”!


Luckily in this case, the driver had CCTV installed which clearly showed the journey; the lady was quite literally blind drunk and falling asleep on the back seat.


On arrival at the address, the driver activated the audio, woke her up, told her she was home, and watched her as she staggered across the front of the vehicle and then fell for- ward, catching herself at the front wall of her home. At this point the driver pulled forward a little with his window down; he called out “Are you OK?” She said yes, he asked if she needed help, she said she was fine, so he drove away.


POLICE GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND!


Now at this point, I have to say that the officer in question went above and beyond. I asked her if that was all the footage she needed; she said: “No, I need until he picks up his next customer because otherwise, when I let the lady know the driver drove off and did nothing to her, she may well say: ‘But how do you know he didn’t double back to do something?’ - so I need it all just in case please.”


Without naming names, this officer deserves the utmost respect and gratitude, but imagine if the CCTV had not been installed!


AUGUST 2021 WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?


Having seen all of this first-hand, having been attacked, having seen drivers lose their licences or go to prison, this is why CCTV is such a vital tool in the taxi and private hire industry. For the price of a bar of chocolate per day, or a packet of cigarettes per week, it is far cheaper that legal representation should you find yourself victim of such a false allegation.


These are not isolated incidents; in fact, far from it. The majority of attacks go unreported, unrecognised, and unnoticed, except of course from the unnamed victims.


EQUAL RIGHTS TO SUPPORT!


It is time for a fair approach. We have the right to work without fear, we have the right to safety at work, and we have the right to be supported when things do go wrong.


We should not need CCTV in order to achieve this level of support, however the reality is that we do indeed need it. Wherever you see the level of support most of the public would expect, there is CCTV: in hospitals, clinics, council buildings, body worn cameras for police and enforcement agencies, bailiffs. Even bus lanes are enforced by cameras - they are everywhere.


WHAT DO WE EXPECT!


The message coming across to the public right now is: attack a police officer and you will be punished; attack a taxi or PHV driver and nothing will happen. No wonder these thugs think that it is OK to attack and abuse drivers! This message needs to change, RIGHT NOW.


Action simply must be taken. The public need to be made aware that any such attacks on a driver WILL be punished. As our PHTM and NPHTA campaign has highlighted in recent times, there is no excuse for abuse, and the courts will not care about any excuses you may give.


As with so many issues affecting our industry, educating the public, the local authorities, and the trade itself is a crucial element in eradicating crimes committed against our drivers. It has been proven time and again that the presence of CCTV in taxis/PHVs has served as a deterrent to such crimes.


Add to that our plea for more police and judiciary support nationwide, and we might just be getting somewhere.


NO MORE SOFT MEASURES, NO MORE SUSPENDED SENTENCES. YOU COMMIT THE CRIME, YOU DO THE TIME!


JOIN NOW!! www.nphta.co.uk 37


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