Wolverhampton taxi drivers threaten strike in licence row

Taxi drivers and the council are on a collision course over the number of cars in Wolverhampton.

There are 174 Hackney Carriages licensed to trade in the city but only 60 rank spaces.

Strike action is being discussed by drivers who also want a rule allowing six-year-old vehicles to join the existing fleet scrapped.

Showdown talks are planned with Wolverhampton City Council next month with drivers already threatening protests and a go-slow demonstration around the city.

Chairman of the The Taxi Owners Association Parminder Sekhon recently demanded a clampdown on the number of foreign cabbies being given licences amid concerns about their level of English.

And Mr Sekhon said a cap on the number of taxis in the city would help safeguard jobs.

“Drivers are prepared to demonstrate outside the Civic Centre and their voices aren’t heard they will do regular go-slows,” he said.

“At the moment drivers are sat at the station for hours. The city is dead and we’re getting no help.

“Letting older cars join the fleet is pointless, especially when there are so many vehicles already.

“How can they – the council – justify anything they say? They’re just looking after themselves.”

Council bosses are hoping to give the city’s night-time economy a boost with more taxis, saying that a lack of available cabs in the evening is ‘damaging’ to the economy.

Mr Sekhon said that was ‘rubbish’ and added: “The taxis aren’t there in huge numbers in the evening but Wolverhampton is not a 24-hour city.

“There’s nothing going on in the evening and sometimes you won’t pick up a fare until 2am. There’s nobody in town.”

The council’s licensing manager Colin Parr said: “We are in regular dialogue with the trade representatives and are already aware of their concerns.

“The policy to relax entry requirements for new Hackney carriage licences in Wolverhampton was agreed by licensing committee with cross-party support two years ago.

“It is acknowledged that there are not enough black cabs working on an evening which is damaging to the night time economy of the city and this policy will help to address that issue.

“It was agreed to introduce the new policy in phases and the final phase, where hackney carriages that are up to six years old will be eligible for new licences, is due to come into effect in April.”

A new taxi waiting area before taxis can queue at the nearby railway station rank was introduced in Chubb Street in 2012. Ranks were opened in Wulfruna Street and North Street in 2013 and then Princess Street last year.

source: http://www.expressandstar.com/

Rossendale council accused of adopting ‘lower’ standards for taxi licensing

Rochdale Council chief executive Steve Rumbelow

The council has hit back at claims by Rochdale council that its licensing policy is undermining work to counter child sexual exploitation

Rossendale council has hit back at claims its taxi regulations ‘undermine’ work to counter child sexual exploitation (CSE) in a neighbouring borough.

A damning report published for Rochdale council’s licensing committee claimed that work to protect vulnerable residents is undermined by a ‘legal loophole’.

Hackney Carriage vehicles licensed by one authority can work in another area as a Private Hire vehicle. The report into Rossendale’s approach to Hackney carriage licences claims this loophole is being used by drivers who obtain a Hackney carriage licence from Rossendale, then go on to work in Rochdale for private hire operators.

According to the report, Rochdale councillors raised concerns last December that Rossendale council allegedly adopts a ‘lower standard’ for its drivers in areas including language skills, area knowledge, and training, as well as safeguarding issues.

The report states that licensing has been at the forefront of Rochdale council’s efforts to improve safeguarding in relation to CSE as licensed drivers frequently come into contact with vulnerable people.

It adds: “All these local benefits are undermined by a policy adopted by a neighbouring authority, which allows drivers over whom this authority has no control, to operate on a regular basis in this borough.

“Given the lengths this authority has gone to in countering CSE it is unacceptable for this progress to be undermined by the actions of another local authority.”

The report suggests that up to 100 drivers may have stopped working as Rochdale-licensed drivers in favour of a Rossendale council badge, although it admits that is merely an estimate.

Rochdale council has this week apologised for not informing Rossendale council of the contents of the report.

Rossendale council said it “refutes various aspects” of the report.

A spokesman added: “We also find it incredulous that their very serious concerns and complaints were not raised with us.

“As soon as we were aware of the report we made contact with Rochdale council, and though we do welcome their apology, we look forward to meeting with them very shortly.”

Steve Rumbelow, Rochdale council’s chief executive, told the Free Press a ‘differential’ between the two licensing policies on aspects of public safety must be addressed.

He added: “We have already apologised because we didn’t make Rossendale council aware of what we were doing. The important thing is the two councils are absolutely committed to working together on this. I think it is to the benefit of all our communities and the trade.”

source: http://www.rossendalefreepress.co.uk/

Jarrow taxi driver jailed after he’s caught dealing a cocktail of drugs worth up to £80k

Raymond Connolly, taxi driver jailed for drug dealing

Cabbie Raymond Connolly was dealing cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis with the help of her girlfriend at their Jarrow home

A cabbie has been jailed for six years after he was nabbed dealing a cocktail of drugs worth up to £80,000.

Raymond Connolly was caught with cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis when police busted his South Tyneside home.

Just months later a second raid netted more narcotics after he returned to dealing while on bail.

Now Connolly has been locked up after admitting a series of drugs charges while his girlfriend, Zoey McDonald, was spared prison for helping him.

Police carried out a raid at the family’s Jarrow home in November 2013 and found 136g of cocaine, 300 ecstasy tablets, six kilos of amphetamine and a small cannabis farm.

The drugs haul was worth a potential £75,000 when sold on the streets, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Some £8,851 in cash was also seized along with a VW Transporter mini bus and a Vauxhaul Corsa van, which prosecutors claim were bought with the proceeds of crime.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: “Mr Connolly admitted he was selling drugs and said he had been £30,000 in debt, although he has not tried to pay off the debts.

“Miss McDonald said she was aware there were drugs in the property and she knew her partner was selling the drugs.

“She wanted him to stop but was willing to take money to pay household bills.”

The court heard just four months after the raid, on March 7 last year, a second search warrant was obtained for the couple’s house.

This time officers seized 200g of amphetamine and 100g of skunk cannabis, worth up to £5,100 on the streets.

Connolly, 49, of Lodore Grove, Jarrow, admitted possessing the drugs with intent to supply and possessing £8,851 in cash proceeds from his dealing. He was jailed for six years.

Recorder Henry Prosser told Connolly: “You had a significant role in dealing drugs on a commercial basis.

“A large amount of money was found at your house and the value of the drugs was very significant.

“I accept in the first place you were motivated by a desire to pay off your debts but it does seem to me that it was not very long before you ceased trying to pay off the debts and those debts apparently remain.”

McDonald, 27, also of Lodore Grove,was given a 20 month jail term, suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work for her involvement in his illegal enterprise, which included taking messages from customers.

McDonald admitted being concerned in drug supply and possessing criminal property on the basis she was not aware of the amount of money being kept in her home and that her minor involvement in dealing related to just passing on messages to her partner.

Peter Schofield, defending Connolly, said the taxi driver lost his livelihood as a result of his arrest.

Mr Schofield added: “He wishes to state Miss McDonald’s involvement in respect of these matters was peripheral, it was his responsibility.

“He is upset she should be implicated in this and next to him in the dock because he considers the most she has been involved with are peripheral matters, things because they shared the same household.”

Mr Schofield said Connolly is concerned for his young child and feels ashamed of what he has done.

Vic Laffey, defending McDonald, said the mum felt “trapped” in the situation she was in and has never been in trouble before.

source: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/

Aggressive minicab driver, violently threatens Taxi driver

This is what Taxi drivers in London have to face, every night of the week.

Warning: contains violent profanity.

The video above was filmed outside Stringfellows Club in Upper St Martins Lane. The protagonist works for Stringfellows.

The reason drivers have to endure such confrontations is due mainly to the non-enforcement policy of the TfL’s Cab Enforcement and compliance units.

Night after night compliance teams can be found doing Badge and Bill checks at mainline stations, but never, repeat never attempt to check documents of PH drivers illegally forming minicab ranks outside clubs bars and hotels.

TfL have turned a blind eye to this illegal behaviour for many years and now the touts believe they have the right to form impromptu ranks anywhere they please. 

Many PHV drivers park on Taxi ranks, simply because they have less chance of getting a ticket from wardens who just walk by, even though it has been long established they have the right to issue PCNs, it just doesn’t happen.

Courageous Driver:

The driver in this clip showed amazing self control in the face of such a violent abusive attack. 

He told Taxi Leaks that he took the video to the police and as a result of viewing the footage they flatly refused to act, saying there was a lack of evidence and at no point did he appeared to be worried, threatened of harassed by the outburst. 

This was a discussing verbal attack on a licensed Taxi driver by a licensed private hire driver. 

Had it been the other way round, the Taxi driver would have had the book thrown at him and possibly lost his bill.

Editorial Comment:

Most of the Taxi Drivers who attended the peaceful demonstration in Whitehall last year were served copies of the public order act 1985. It seems the Met only use this legislation to suit their own needs and agendas.

The Met need to be informed they swear a duty to uphold all laws, not just the ones that suit them.

Looking at the act itself below, as a layman I would say the minicab driver contravened both sec 4 and sec 4a. 

I firmly believe the police were wrong to take no action against the PH driver, in light of the video footage and subsequent statement from the Taxi driver. 

Public Order Act: 1985

Sec 4

Fear or provocation of violence.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or

(b)distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is distributed or displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspects is committing an offence under this section.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.

Sec 4AIntentional harassment, alarm or distress.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the person who is harassed, alarmed or distressed is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)It is a defence for the accused to prove—

(a)that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or

(b)that his conduct was reasonable.

(4)A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspects is committing an offence under this section.

(5)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.]

source: http://taxileaks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/aggressive-minicab-driver-violently.html

Illegal taxi drivers to pay nearly £2,800

Three illegal taxi drivers caught in Manchester have been ordered to pay a total of £2,785 after being prosecuted for breaking licensing rules.

In separate incidents, Manchester City Council officers routinely operating in the city centre observed the illegal activity.

Gary Edward Young was fined £1,050 with £655 costs and a £55 victim of crime surcharge. Young was also given eight penalty points after pleading guilty to operating an unlicensed private hire vehicle, operating as an unlicensed private hire driver and driving without insurance.

During the morning of Wednesday 25 June 2014, council officers observed Young drop off two passengers at Piccadilly Station, exchange money and provide a receipt. When challenged by officers, Young initially denied any offences – despite a working taxi-meter in the front of the vehicle showing a current fare of £28.50.

Young, 70, of Lymington Close, Middleton, pleaded guilty to all of the charges at Manchester Magistrates Court on 9 February 2015.

Mohammed Habib was fined £250 with £350 costs and a £25 victim of crime surcharge after pleading guilty to illegally plying for hire.

At around 2am on 4 May 2014, council officers observed two passengers flag down Habib’s Rossendale registered Hackney carriage on Deansgate. Only a Black Cab licensed by Manchester City Council is able to collect fares off the street without a booking.

Officers established that the passengers had agreed a £10 fare for a journey of less than a mile.

Habib, aged 30 and of Swayfield Avenue, Longsight, pleaded guilty to the offence of illegally plying for hire at Manchester Magistrates Court on 10 February 2015.

Sarmad Salih Abdulahi, 32, of Sandsend Close, Cheetham, was fined £220 with £160 costs and a £20 victim of crime surcharge. Abdulahi was also handed 6 penalty points after being found guilty of the offences of driving without insurance and being an unlicensed driver.

At 10am Wednesday 16 April 2014, council officers observed Abdulahi drop off a passenger at Piccadilly Station. The officers stopped Abdulahi and after interviewing advised he was to be prosecuted.

Abdulahi pleaded guilty to the charges at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 18 February 2015, but declared special reasons for driving without insurance, stating he thought the car’s owner had insured him. This was dismissed by the Magistrates.

Cllr Kate Chappell, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “These three prosecutions serve as a warning to rogue drivers – the consequences for illegally operating any taxi are both serious and costly.

“Our officers are working day and night around the city – if you are caught operating illegally, we will not hesitate to prosecute you.”

source: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/

Feb 27

Wolverhampton taxi drivers threaten strike in licence row

Taxi drivers and the council are on a collision course over the number of cars in Wolverhampton.

There are 174 Hackney Carriages licensed to trade in the city but only 60 rank spaces.

Strike action is being discussed by drivers who also want a rule allowing six-year-old vehicles to join the existing fleet scrapped.

Showdown talks are planned with Wolverhampton City Council next month with drivers already threatening protests and a go-slow demonstration around the city.

Chairman of the The Taxi Owners Association Parminder Sekhon recently demanded a clampdown on the number of foreign cabbies being given licences amid concerns about their level of English.

And Mr Sekhon said a cap on the number of taxis in the city would help safeguard jobs.

“Drivers are prepared to demonstrate outside the Civic Centre and their voices aren’t heard they will do regular go-slows,” he said.

“At the moment drivers are sat at the station for hours. The city is dead and we’re getting no help.

“Letting older cars join the fleet is pointless, especially when there are so many vehicles already.

“How can they – the council – justify anything they say? They’re just looking after themselves.”

Council bosses are hoping to give the city’s night-time economy a boost with more taxis, saying that a lack of available cabs in the evening is ‘damaging’ to the economy.

Mr Sekhon said that was ‘rubbish’ and added: “The taxis aren’t there in huge numbers in the evening but Wolverhampton is not a 24-hour city.

“There’s nothing going on in the evening and sometimes you won’t pick up a fare until 2am. There’s nobody in town.”

The council’s licensing manager Colin Parr said: “We are in regular dialogue with the trade representatives and are already aware of their concerns.

“The policy to relax entry requirements for new Hackney carriage licences in Wolverhampton was agreed by licensing committee with cross-party support two years ago.

“It is acknowledged that there are not enough black cabs working on an evening which is damaging to the night time economy of the city and this policy will help to address that issue.

“It was agreed to introduce the new policy in phases and the final phase, where hackney carriages that are up to six years old will be eligible for new licences, is due to come into effect in April.”

A new taxi waiting area before taxis can queue at the nearby railway station rank was introduced in Chubb Street in 2012. Ranks were opened in Wulfruna Street and North Street in 2013 and then Princess Street last year.

source: http://www.expressandstar.com/

Feb 27

Rossendale council accused of adopting ‘lower’ standards for taxi licensing

Rochdale Council chief executive Steve Rumbelow

The council has hit back at claims by Rochdale council that its licensing policy is undermining work to counter child sexual exploitation

Rossendale council has hit back at claims its taxi regulations ‘undermine’ work to counter child sexual exploitation (CSE) in a neighbouring borough.

A damning report published for Rochdale council’s licensing committee claimed that work to protect vulnerable residents is undermined by a ‘legal loophole’.

Hackney Carriage vehicles licensed by one authority can work in another area as a Private Hire vehicle. The report into Rossendale’s approach to Hackney carriage licences claims this loophole is being used by drivers who obtain a Hackney carriage licence from Rossendale, then go on to work in Rochdale for private hire operators.

According to the report, Rochdale councillors raised concerns last December that Rossendale council allegedly adopts a ‘lower standard’ for its drivers in areas including language skills, area knowledge, and training, as well as safeguarding issues.

The report states that licensing has been at the forefront of Rochdale council’s efforts to improve safeguarding in relation to CSE as licensed drivers frequently come into contact with vulnerable people.

It adds: “All these local benefits are undermined by a policy adopted by a neighbouring authority, which allows drivers over whom this authority has no control, to operate on a regular basis in this borough.

“Given the lengths this authority has gone to in countering CSE it is unacceptable for this progress to be undermined by the actions of another local authority.”

The report suggests that up to 100 drivers may have stopped working as Rochdale-licensed drivers in favour of a Rossendale council badge, although it admits that is merely an estimate.

Rochdale council has this week apologised for not informing Rossendale council of the contents of the report.

Rossendale council said it “refutes various aspects” of the report.

A spokesman added: “We also find it incredulous that their very serious concerns and complaints were not raised with us.

“As soon as we were aware of the report we made contact with Rochdale council, and though we do welcome their apology, we look forward to meeting with them very shortly.”

Steve Rumbelow, Rochdale council’s chief executive, told the Free Press a ‘differential’ between the two licensing policies on aspects of public safety must be addressed.

He added: “We have already apologised because we didn’t make Rossendale council aware of what we were doing. The important thing is the two councils are absolutely committed to working together on this. I think it is to the benefit of all our communities and the trade.”

source: http://www.rossendalefreepress.co.uk/

Feb 27

Jarrow taxi driver jailed after he’s caught dealing a cocktail of drugs worth up to £80k

Raymond Connolly, taxi driver jailed for drug dealing

Cabbie Raymond Connolly was dealing cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis with the help of her girlfriend at their Jarrow home

A cabbie has been jailed for six years after he was nabbed dealing a cocktail of drugs worth up to £80,000.

Raymond Connolly was caught with cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis when police busted his South Tyneside home.

Just months later a second raid netted more narcotics after he returned to dealing while on bail.

Now Connolly has been locked up after admitting a series of drugs charges while his girlfriend, Zoey McDonald, was spared prison for helping him.

Police carried out a raid at the family’s Jarrow home in November 2013 and found 136g of cocaine, 300 ecstasy tablets, six kilos of amphetamine and a small cannabis farm.

The drugs haul was worth a potential £75,000 when sold on the streets, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Some £8,851 in cash was also seized along with a VW Transporter mini bus and a Vauxhaul Corsa van, which prosecutors claim were bought with the proceeds of crime.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court: “Mr Connolly admitted he was selling drugs and said he had been £30,000 in debt, although he has not tried to pay off the debts.

“Miss McDonald said she was aware there were drugs in the property and she knew her partner was selling the drugs.

“She wanted him to stop but was willing to take money to pay household bills.”

The court heard just four months after the raid, on March 7 last year, a second search warrant was obtained for the couple’s house.

This time officers seized 200g of amphetamine and 100g of skunk cannabis, worth up to £5,100 on the streets.

Connolly, 49, of Lodore Grove, Jarrow, admitted possessing the drugs with intent to supply and possessing £8,851 in cash proceeds from his dealing. He was jailed for six years.

Recorder Henry Prosser told Connolly: “You had a significant role in dealing drugs on a commercial basis.

“A large amount of money was found at your house and the value of the drugs was very significant.

“I accept in the first place you were motivated by a desire to pay off your debts but it does seem to me that it was not very long before you ceased trying to pay off the debts and those debts apparently remain.”

McDonald, 27, also of Lodore Grove,was given a 20 month jail term, suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work for her involvement in his illegal enterprise, which included taking messages from customers.

McDonald admitted being concerned in drug supply and possessing criminal property on the basis she was not aware of the amount of money being kept in her home and that her minor involvement in dealing related to just passing on messages to her partner.

Peter Schofield, defending Connolly, said the taxi driver lost his livelihood as a result of his arrest.

Mr Schofield added: “He wishes to state Miss McDonald’s involvement in respect of these matters was peripheral, it was his responsibility.

“He is upset she should be implicated in this and next to him in the dock because he considers the most she has been involved with are peripheral matters, things because they shared the same household.”

Mr Schofield said Connolly is concerned for his young child and feels ashamed of what he has done.

Vic Laffey, defending McDonald, said the mum felt “trapped” in the situation she was in and has never been in trouble before.

source: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/

Feb 25

Aggressive minicab driver, violently threatens Taxi driver

This is what Taxi drivers in London have to face, every night of the week.

Warning: contains violent profanity.

The video above was filmed outside Stringfellows Club in Upper St Martins Lane. The protagonist works for Stringfellows.

The reason drivers have to endure such confrontations is due mainly to the non-enforcement policy of the TfL’s Cab Enforcement and compliance units.

Night after night compliance teams can be found doing Badge and Bill checks at mainline stations, but never, repeat never attempt to check documents of PH drivers illegally forming minicab ranks outside clubs bars and hotels.

TfL have turned a blind eye to this illegal behaviour for many years and now the touts believe they have the right to form impromptu ranks anywhere they please. 

Many PHV drivers park on Taxi ranks, simply because they have less chance of getting a ticket from wardens who just walk by, even though it has been long established they have the right to issue PCNs, it just doesn’t happen.

Courageous Driver:

The driver in this clip showed amazing self control in the face of such a violent abusive attack. 

He told Taxi Leaks that he took the video to the police and as a result of viewing the footage they flatly refused to act, saying there was a lack of evidence and at no point did he appeared to be worried, threatened of harassed by the outburst. 

This was a discussing verbal attack on a licensed Taxi driver by a licensed private hire driver. 

Had it been the other way round, the Taxi driver would have had the book thrown at him and possibly lost his bill.

Editorial Comment:

Most of the Taxi Drivers who attended the peaceful demonstration in Whitehall last year were served copies of the public order act 1985. It seems the Met only use this legislation to suit their own needs and agendas.

The Met need to be informed they swear a duty to uphold all laws, not just the ones that suit them.

Looking at the act itself below, as a layman I would say the minicab driver contravened both sec 4 and sec 4a. 

I firmly believe the police were wrong to take no action against the PH driver, in light of the video footage and subsequent statement from the Taxi driver. 

Public Order Act: 1985

Sec 4

Fear or provocation of violence.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or

(b)distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is distributed or displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspects is committing an offence under this section.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.

Sec 4AIntentional harassment, alarm or distress.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the person who is harassed, alarmed or distressed is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)It is a defence for the accused to prove—

(a)that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or

(b)that his conduct was reasonable.

(4)A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspects is committing an offence under this section.

(5)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.]

source: http://taxileaks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/aggressive-minicab-driver-violently.html

Feb 25

Illegal taxi drivers to pay nearly £2,800

Three illegal taxi drivers caught in Manchester have been ordered to pay a total of £2,785 after being prosecuted for breaking licensing rules.

In separate incidents, Manchester City Council officers routinely operating in the city centre observed the illegal activity.

Gary Edward Young was fined £1,050 with £655 costs and a £55 victim of crime surcharge. Young was also given eight penalty points after pleading guilty to operating an unlicensed private hire vehicle, operating as an unlicensed private hire driver and driving without insurance.

During the morning of Wednesday 25 June 2014, council officers observed Young drop off two passengers at Piccadilly Station, exchange money and provide a receipt. When challenged by officers, Young initially denied any offences – despite a working taxi-meter in the front of the vehicle showing a current fare of £28.50.

Young, 70, of Lymington Close, Middleton, pleaded guilty to all of the charges at Manchester Magistrates Court on 9 February 2015.

Mohammed Habib was fined £250 with £350 costs and a £25 victim of crime surcharge after pleading guilty to illegally plying for hire.

At around 2am on 4 May 2014, council officers observed two passengers flag down Habib’s Rossendale registered Hackney carriage on Deansgate. Only a Black Cab licensed by Manchester City Council is able to collect fares off the street without a booking.

Officers established that the passengers had agreed a £10 fare for a journey of less than a mile.

Habib, aged 30 and of Swayfield Avenue, Longsight, pleaded guilty to the offence of illegally plying for hire at Manchester Magistrates Court on 10 February 2015.

Sarmad Salih Abdulahi, 32, of Sandsend Close, Cheetham, was fined £220 with £160 costs and a £20 victim of crime surcharge. Abdulahi was also handed 6 penalty points after being found guilty of the offences of driving without insurance and being an unlicensed driver.

At 10am Wednesday 16 April 2014, council officers observed Abdulahi drop off a passenger at Piccadilly Station. The officers stopped Abdulahi and after interviewing advised he was to be prosecuted.

Abdulahi pleaded guilty to the charges at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 18 February 2015, but declared special reasons for driving without insurance, stating he thought the car’s owner had insured him. This was dismissed by the Magistrates.

Cllr Kate Chappell, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “These three prosecutions serve as a warning to rogue drivers – the consequences for illegally operating any taxi are both serious and costly.

“Our officers are working day and night around the city – if you are caught operating illegally, we will not hesitate to prosecute you.”

source: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/

Feb 23

Controversial taxi penalty points scheme to continue despite protests

A controversial penalty points system for taxi drivers introduced in November will continue despite protests from the trade.

Points are given to drivers by Aylesbury Vale District Council for contraventions such as failing to wear their identity badge (two points), have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher with them (three points), over-charging (three points), using taxi ranks if they are only for private hire (four points), and not maintaining their vehicle adequately (two to four points).

Once drivers reach 12 points it triggers a ‘review of the driver’s suitability to continue to be licensed’.

The points were first issued during a joint police and council operation on November 15.

However, the district council’s licensing boss Peter Seal admitted that ‘unfortunately it was not well received by a number of members of the private hire trade who, on the night threatened to protest’.

The Aylesbury Private Hire Association wrote to Mr Seal demanding that the points given on November 15 be quashed and the whole system reviewed. They wanted less points given out for each offence and to raise the threshold to 20 points before a driver is considered for suspension.

The letter added: “We do not wish to cause any disruption, or be put in a position where our drivers refuse to work due to the risk of them getting points on their license and ultimately risking or losing their livelihood. The council seem to be of the impression that they can just suspend or revoke a license as and when they feel, without giving any proper regard to causing unemployment or putting an individual in difficulty.”

However, the council has refused to quash the points given out so far and in a report to councillors on the licensing committee, which meets on March 2, Mr Seal says the scheme will continue unchanged.

A total of 80 points had been handed out to taxi drivers up to February 15. The majority was for not wearing a badge in a prominent position. Points for major vehicle defects were given out on three occasions for tyre pressure being below the legal limit and a boot which could not be opened.

source: http://www.buckinghamtoday.co.uk/

Feb 23

Private hire car driver fined for touting for business during Cheltenham Gold Cup week

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A private hire driver has been fined for touting for business in Cheltenham during Gold Cup week.

Boubacar Diallo, was ordered by the town’s Magistrates’ Court to pay a total of £718.50 in fines and costs, after he was convicted of plying for
hire.

The court heard that Diallo, from James Street, Gloucester, picked up two members of the public who had earlier been seen unsuccessfully attempting to flag down a legitimately licensed taxi. The incidents were witnessed by officers from Cheltenham Borough Council, who brought the prosecution.

Private hire drivers are only allowed to carry pre-booked passengers; they are not allowed to pick up customers from the street. Only Hackney carriage drivers can do that.

Cabinet member for development and safety, Andy McKinlay, said: “Drivers and vehicles not licensed by the council do put public protection and safety at risk.

“People must make sure they only get into a Cheltenham Borough Council licensed vehicle and that the journey is properly booked and recorded.”

Louis Krog, licensing and business support team leader, added: “This successful prosecution should send out a message that the council will deal with out-of-town drivers that illegally ply for hire, not least because of the risk this poses to public safety but also we need to protect the interest of the local trade during this very busy week.”

Read more: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk

Feb 20

Guildford taxi drivers demand judicial review over licence fee charges

Mark Rostron, secretary of the Guildford Hackney Association

The Guildford Hackney Association think that drivers have been ‘overcharged’ for years

Angry cabbies are demanding a judicial review into what they regard as historic overcharging over their licence fees.

The Guildford Hackney Association (GHA) has been involved in a long and bitter dispute with Guildford Borough Council, making applications to the ombudsman and threatening to strike, over what it sees as the ‘injustice’ of charges set by the licensing department, going back more than 20 years.

The charges for 2015-16 were agreed by the borough executive last month, but the council last week accepted recommendations by officials to reduce the figures – some by more than 50%.

The charges vary, depending on whether the application is a renewal, replacement or a new licence.

Mark Rostron, secretary of the GHA, said: “That’s some dip, from £100 to £48, so they are quite a big lowering in things such as the changing of plates per vehicle.

“Unfortunately, these fees and issues are really infrequent and when they come about have to be paid.

“We are concerned about the annual taxing, which has gone up by 12.9%, and drivers’ licences have gone up by 14.9%.

“This situation is so bad and has been on going for so long we are going to apply for a judicial review.

“If you just change your car that has gone down by more than 52% so blatantly they were overcharging and for what? Just a plastic plate, a piece of paper, and 10 minutes of a clerk’s time.

“We welcome some of the fees going down, but it seems like they have partially relieved an injustice which has been in place for more than 20 years.”

The charges were approved on February 11 but Councillor David Goodwin predicted that questions would be raised.

He said: “I welcome the reduction to taxi charges, which is up to 58% in some cases, and think it is good for taxis drivers and their customers.

“However, it goes to prove that Guildford Borough Council has been overcharging the taxis for many years.

“Some of the changes are only 50p one way or the other. However, some are up to 58% reductions.

“While I welcome reductions and I am quite sure the taxi trade will welcome reductions, it does beg the question what has been going on for all this time?

“Because the only explanation here is that the review was led into the mechanisms and recordings of charges.”

Cllr Paul Spooner, the lead councillor for licensing and governance, explained: “Each year we calculate the cost of processing and issuing different types of licences, and these costs are used to set fees and charges.

“We have been working hard to streamline the processes we use for licensing taxis, private hire vehicles and drivers.

“As a result we have reduced some of the fees for 2015-16.

“This will certainly benefit drivers, who can choose to pass on these savings to their customers.

“We set the maximum fares that can be charged, but drivers can agree lower fares with their customers.”

source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/

Feb 18

Bristol minicab driver Dean Clarke saves passenger’s life with CPR

When minicab driver Dean Clarke picked up his last fare on Saturday night, he never imagined by the time the journey ended he would have saved a life.

But when a 76-year-old passenger collapsed and began having a heart attack, his instincts kicked in along with advice picked up from an advertising campaign.

Mr Clarke, who has been a minicab driver for Bristol-based Homesafe Cars for two years, administered emergency CPR to John Alexander for 20 minutes, despite having no previous first aid experience.

And the technique he used to save his passengers life were gleaned from watching a campaign backed by soccer hardman Vinnie Jones. In the Staying Alive advert the footballer turned actor demonstrates how to administer CPR accompanied by the Bee Gees’ hit of the same name.
The 54-year-old was helping the man and his wife out of the minicab outside their Hanham home after they had been to a pub in Cadbury Heath celebrating their son’s birthday.

Mr Clarke said: “As I helped the man out of the car, he collapsed back. It was really frightening, I rang an ambulance and told them what was happening. They talked me through some basic CPR and I just had to keep his head back and his airways open.

“I had never done CPR before, the only knowledge I had of it was from the Vinny Jones’ CPR videos. The man on the phone was great, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.”

Mr Clarke also rang his colleague to go back to the pub and pick up the man’s son. After 20 minutes, an ambulance arrived to take the man to hospital where he was treated.

Paramedics told Dean if it wasn’t for the CPR he administered, the man may not have survived.

He said: “They said I helped save the man’s life, but if it wasn’t for the people at the end of the phone talking me through I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it, so I owe it to them really. I’m just so glad to hear the man is ok, miraculously he is out of hospital already and doing well I hear so that is all that matters. I was very anxious on Sunday until I heard he was OK.

“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything out of the ordinary, I was just doing my job and what anyone would have done. But it was a very frightening experience and I’m just glad it has been a positive outcome.”

The manager of Homesafe Minicabs Mark Horman said: “It’s amazing really what he did and we are very proud to have him as one of our minicab drivers. He went above and beyond and we are just pleased that the man is OK and out of hospital. His family have been in touch with us through our Facebook page and have thanked us.”

Aide White said on the Facebook page: “Thanks guys, this is my father-in-law of 35 years. You lived up to your company’s name, Homesafe. You did a great job.”

Daughter Louise White said: “Thank you very much this customer is my Dad we have just picked him up from hospital and apart from bruising and a chest infection he is OK as a family we can not thank you enough. My mum and dad will be in contact with you soon thanks again.

Read more: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/

Feb 18

Minicab driver who allegedly received sexual favours on journey has licence appeal dismissed

A minicab driver, who is alleged to have received sexual favours from a woman during a journey in Birchwood, has failed in an attempt to get his licence back.

Mike Ainsworth, aged 50, of Foxley Heath, Widnes, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Friday following Warrington Borough Council’s decision to revoke his Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licence during a hearing at Halton Magistrates’ Court on May 30 last year.

The incident took place on Saturday, October 5 2013, when Mr Ainsworth picked the woman up from her home in Fearnhead to take her to the nearby Co-Op store.

The court heard how after driving her back home shortly after, he was informed she had no money to pay the fare of around £6.

Mr Ainsworth agreed to return later and did so between 10.30pm and 11.30pm to collect the money but was asked to drive her to an ATM machine so that she could withdraw cash.

He did so, but the journey was not booked, and so was not insured.

It was on the way to the BP service station where the woman grabbed him ‘at the top of the thigh’ and suggested sexual favours to pay him but Mr Ainsworth, who pushed away her advances, told the court he believed this was ‘banter’.

After arriving at the station, the woman told him she could not use the cash machine but she remained in the front of the vehicle.

Once the journey resumed onto Birchwood Way, the court was told how the woman put her right hand down Mr Ainsworth’s trousers, which were a size too big and had a top button missing to provide ‘comfort’ during long shifts.

Mr Ainsworth has denied the claims he received sexual favours and his barrister, Huw Edwards, pointed to the woman’s inability to ‘refute’ Mr Ainsworth’s view when she attended Runcorn Police Station on October 9 2013, believing she had been sexually assaulted.

“I tried to push her away but I was driving at 50mph, I was not going slow this time and had a car beside me and behind me,” said Ainsworth.

“The underwear that I wear is stretchy and easy to get into.

“I stopped the vehicle on Fearnhead Lane after being on Birchwood Way and was just in shock.

“She became increasingly upset, I tried to calm her down and felt sorry for her but I just wanted to get rid of her.”

Prosecuting, Malcolm Hope, strongly questioned whether Mr Ainsworth was a ‘fit and proper’ taxi driver and claimed a ‘trust between a taxi driver and client’ had been breached.

“This was a Saturday night – a busy night for taxi drivers and the journey was longer than the initial £6 fare,” he said.

Recorder Andrew Long, believed that Mr Ainsworth did not return to the home in the hope of obtaining sexual favours but was critical of his refusal to ask the woman to go into the back of the vehicle or exit.

“I believe that he failed to establish himself as a fit and proper person,” he said.

“He has been a taxi driver for nearly 20 years but now has to find a different job.”

Ainsworth was order to pay £1800 to the council and £250 in court costs.

source: http://www.warringtonguardian.co.uk/

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