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COVID NEWS...COVID NEWS...


CABBIES SAY THEY ARE AT RISK AS WEST MERCIA POLICE ASK THEM TO SNITCH ON PASSENGERS BREACHING LOCKDOWN RULES


Taxi drivers have reacted with anger after West Mercia police force asked them to snitch on passengers they suspected of beaching lockdown rules. According to The Telegraph, a letter issued by the police to an estimated 300 licensed taxi drivers in Herefordshire has called for drivers to report any incidents of people breaching the 'rule of six'. Dave Lawrie, director of The National Pri- vate Hire & Taxi Association, said attacks on drivers have already increased during the pandemic with many feeling under pressure to ask that their passengers wear a face- mask before travelling. Mr Lawrie said: “I am painfully aware of the number of attacks that are carried out on drivers on a daily and weekly basis. I don’t


PEOPLE USING TAXIS TO TAKE THEM TO


COVID TESTS IN DERRY


People in Derry have been booking taxis to take them to drive-in Covid-19 test centres, it has emerged. Derry Now reports that a local group which represents taxi drivers has appealed for the practice to stop. A spokesperson for the North West Taxi Proprietors (NWTP) said people should not book taxis or use any public transport when going for a test. “It has come to our attention that some people are booking taxis for the drive-in test and due to the automated systems in use for bookings the destination isn’t always clear so can go out to drivers who are unaware of the precise destination of the booking until the point of pick up,” said the spokesperson. “Taxi offices and taxi drivers will refuse bookings to the COVID test centres. A num- ber of taxi drivers have already caught Covid-19 and we have others isolating as part of the track and trace. Please help to keep everyone safe including taxi drivers and public transport drivers.” The NWTP spokesperson said it was ‘gross- ly unfair’ to get into a taxi or any public transport if someone has Covid symptoms . “Please do not book a taxi to go to a testing centre as it will be refused on health and safety concerns for the driver. “Please help us to keep our local communi- ty safe by keeping our public transport drivers safe.”


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think it is a good idea to ask taxi drivers to report people breaching Covid regulations, because, if they do that, they are leaving themselves wide open to counter-attack and people coming back to them.” “Taxi drivers already have enough responsi- bilities and burdens on them, they are not enforcement officers,” Mr Lawrie added. Under current Government guidelines, breaches of the ‘rule of six’ are punishable with a £200 fine. Jon Dallow, director of Hereford’s largest operator BlueLine Taxis, said: “If they (drivers) inform people of having parties when they drop somebody off, I imagine it would put them in a predicament and make them feel uncomfortable. They just want to try and earn some money as safely as possi- ble, which they need.” Earnings from taxi drivers are estimated to have fallen by 80 per cent since the start of the pandemic with increasingly stringent Covid regulations discouraging people from socialising in public. However others have welcomed the move, arguing it is part and parcel of the industry’s civic duty to reduce the rate of infection in the county. Councillor Paul Rone, who is group chair-


man of the county’s taxi co-operative, said: "We're all members of society, we've all got responsibilities there is no good blaming 'big government' and things, youngsters do seem to think it doesn't affect them. "It's not a sort of snitching, it's just making sure people comply with the rules and the laws. Have we seen examples of it, yes, would we report it? That's up to each indi- vidual cabbie." Questioned on the reasoning behind the let- ter, Chief Inspector Ed Williams from West Mercia Police said: “A letter has been shared with taxi drivers across Herefordshire fol- lowing a multi-agency meeting. "It was pointed out in the meeting that, due to their line of work, taxi drivers are likely to have information relating to significant breaches of Covid-19 regulations. "Therefore it was jointly agreed that we would encourage professional drivers to report breaches such as large parties, mass gatherings and raves. "This added insight enables us to be more efficient in our response and work together to take greater steps in keeping our commu- nities as safe as possible during the pandemic and to help stop the spread of the virus.”


TRIBUTES FLOOD IN FOR ROTHERHAM TAXI DRIVER WHO DIED WITH CORONAVIRUS


ExaminerLive reports that tributes have been paid to a Rotherham taxi driver who has died from coronavirus. Haji Tanveer Hussain died on Wednesday, 7 October, after testing positive for the virus. He was described as a “hugely popular character” and his death has shocked his colleagues and customers alike. Mr Hussain worked at Gold Star Taxis where he was very well-liked. Paying tribute, Nasar Raoof, a friend and fel- low taxi driver, told ExaminerLive: “He was one of the humblest people you could ever hope to meet and he never had a bad word to say about anyone or anything. “He was an amazing driver and an amazing man, who was known by everyone. The huge number of messages on social media following his death show just how popular he was.” The family have said they appreciate the help and support they have received so far from the community and those who knew Mr Hussain.


Others paying tribute said he was “always smiling” and a “humble and respected indi- vidual”. Another said his passing meant a “great loss to the community”. Rotherham was placed on the Govern- ment’s coronavirus “watch list” earlier this month due to concerns over rising infection rates. All at PHTM extend our condolences to Mr Hussain’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.


NOVEMBER 2020


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