Hull minicab driver David Ainsworth jailed for groping passengers

6938705977_0d226702c4_oA MINICAB driver who sexually assaulted two female passengers because his own marriage “lacked intimacy” has been jailed for six months.

David Ainsworth, 42, groped the women’s breasts during separate journeys earlier this year.

Hull Crown Court heard the 35 Minicabs private hire driver also offered one of the women a free journey home if she performed a sex act.

The 22-year-old woman had got into Ainsworth’s cab in east Hull in the early hours of February 11 to go to withdraw some money from a cashpoint.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was wearing pyjamas at the time.

Prosecutor Geraldine Kelly said: “They began talking. But, before long, Mr Ainsworth told the victim he was more interested in her breasts, leaned over and groped one of her breasts.

“The woman was in complete shock and so Ainsworth groped her breasts twice more.

“The woman had no mobile phone on her and felt vulnerable and scared because she couldn’t ring her boyfriend who was back at the house.”

Ainsworth, of Brough, then offered the woman a free fare if she performed a sexual act.

On March 19, Ainsworth picked up another woman who wanted to go home after a night out in Hull city centre.

As the passenger went to get out of the minicab near her home, Ainsworth ran around the car to grope her breasts as she stood on the pavement.

Mrs Kelly said: “The woman was pushed back onto the car. She managed to run away. She was shocked and humiliated.

“She says she is now very vulnerable and wary of being in the company of men.”

Ainsworth began his job as a minicab driver in 2001. At the time of the attacks, he worked for 35 Minicabs, based in Holderness Road, east Hull.

He was sacked after he was arrested by police in April.

In mitigation, Steven Garth said: “I have to admit there were two serious breaches of trust here.

“Mr Ainsworth married in 2002 but that relationship became unsatisfying. There was no love and he was very unhappy for months and months. It lacked intimacy.

“The breakdown of the marriage and loneliness of the job as a minicab driver may have something to do with what happened.”

Ainsworth has since secured a new job as a welder in Goole.

Judge Mark Bury told Ainsworth: “Both offences bear similarity and they were both on females at night time.

“In the first case, it was not long before you were making smutty remarks and touched her breasts three times.

“You then subjected her to more indignity when you told her to give you a sexual favour.

“She was horrified by that and quite rightly so.

“You have lost your job as a minicab driver which is hardly surprising.

“These offences are especially serious because the women were your fares. They trusted you.

“I am left with no choice but to give you a custodial sentence.

“There is also the element of deterrent and the public must be led to believe they are not at threat late at night.

“So my sentence is punishment for you and reassurance for the public.”

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (who’s watching the watchmen)

casey conf

 Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

By

Wayne Casey

For those of you who don’t understand the words in the title, its Latin, it roughly translates as ‘who’s watching the watchmen’, quite apt in the context of this article, even though I probably say so myself.

The licensed taxi trade has always prided itself on its professionalism – the professionalism has invariably come from the driver. It’s not the vehicle, as was hilariously once claimed by one vehicle manufacturer, it’s the person behind the wheel who 99.9% of the time takes the passenger to their destination without incident.

The legitimate trade cringe with embarrassment and anger when stories emerge in the press of ‘taxi rapes’ and ‘taxi drivers’ being involved in the sickening sex rings that seem to be emerging in various cities across the UK.

The legitimate trade are aware that such stories damage the reputation it has tried so hard to obtain. The trade need to work closely with bodies such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and other charities to ensure that authorities are clearly aware of the problems that are present and to show the wider public of our very real concerns.

However, the majority of stories are not ‘taxi’ stories at all, they involve the private hire (minicab) trade – yet for reasons of lazy journalism, ignorance and provocation, the press in almost all areas choose to report incidents using the word ‘taxi’ as a catch all.

Whilst the press are culpable, also culpable are authorities. Numerous local authorities choose to issue joint hackney carriage / private hire licenses, some decide the phrase ‘private hire taxi’ is a suitable one. They then allow minicab firms to use the word ‘taxi’ in not only their business names but also on vehicle signage – they then wonder why the public seem confused and have few qualms about getting into a vehicle that is illegally plying for hire.

I suppose they have a right to be confused, we recently appear to have had licenses issued on the say so of a politician as opposed to the ‘rigorous process’ many authorities claim to have in place.

The same type of ignorance was clearly demonstrated within the House of Lords during a recent debate on the proposed changes to the private hire aspects of the deregulation bill – some members appeared to have very little clue what they were talking about – getting confused between taxi and private hire with remarkable regularity.

Whilst members of the upper house appear confused about the difference between taxi and minicab, they also seemingly had few qualms about pointing the finger towards the Suzy Lamplugh trust in respect of London’s minicab laws.

Viscount Ridley being particularly scathing, pointing out and suggesting a relatively new charitable trust back in 1998 should have known about each and every working of a business they couldn’t be expected to completely understand – and a court case from Cumbria that changed provincial private hire law months before the presumably already drafted London PH act came into being. A cheap shot at a charity – I wonder what his encore was, strangulation of a kitten perhaps?

The shot was almost as cheap as the same chap getting it completely wrong in respect of PHV’s being unable to pick up outside of area, then wheeling out the wheelchair bound to underline his point.

If these are the people making law, little wonder the country appears to be in decline, naturally, it’s not a decline they feel – not too many daughters of peers get raped in illegal minicabs do they?

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to any politician that when the changes happen a private hire driver when working away from their district of license will be immune from local licensing authorities checking credentials. Naturally, if this is the case then nobody will actually know who is driving the vehicle – personally that scares the hell out of me.

It doesn’t seem to have dawned upon politicians that regulations are put in place for the safety of the public, not for the annoyance of minicab operators.

Like many others, I have very little faith in the ‘certificate of good conduct’ system employed by some local authorities. Some countries are inherently corrupt – and before you start shouting at me, I suggest you read up on corruption by transparency international http://www.transparency.org/cpi2013/results .

The NTA long campaigned for enhanced background checks on drivers – these background checks are only of true benefit if a person has resided in this country for a decent period of time, and even then, as we are all aware, some scumbags slip through the net.

However, something needs to be done. Licensed drivers have been implicated, arrested and imprisoned in places like Rochdale, Rotherham, London, Bristol & Oxford. Without doubt, people are entering the licensed industry with a single purpose.

I recall a case in Bournemouth where the local taxi association contacted and actually ran up a dossier of incidents on one particular driver – these reports went upon deaf ears – the driver was eventually caught and jailed. However, questions need asked and answers need to be given, indeed, P45’s should be handed out.

Questions need asked as to how the Department for transport came up with the idea of clauses 10, 11 & 12 entering the deregulation bill. Whilst clause 10 was dropped it still remains the case that unlicensed people can drive minicab ‘for non work purposes’ in the nations capital. Furthermore, there are inherent dangers with the two remaining clauses.

Badly briefed MP’s don’t appear to be fully aware of the very real danger the so called ‘Mother of Parliaments’ are about to unleash upon the country.

To hear a government minister tell the House that “People who are in this trade are not wealthy people” does tend to spring the question will the changes make anyone any wealthier. The answer to that is of course yes, it will make all those who leech off the licensed industries infinitely wealthier.

I’ll continue this article in the near future..

Milton Keynes Taxi Scandal: Ex-Milton Keynes Mayor vouched for asylum seeker who is now a convicted paedophile

Councillor Shafiq

Sex scandal mayor Subhan Shafiq has admitted giving a character reference to ANOTHER serious sex offender – an asylum seeker who is now a convicted paedophile.

This time Councillor Shafiq vouched for would-be cab driver Malik Aftab Ahmed when he applied to come to the UK from Pakistan.

But after his application was granted Malik was arrested and convicted of four counts of serious sexual assault – two of them involving a girl under the age of 16.

He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence and will be on the sex offenders register for life.

Mr Shafiq told the Citizen his Home Office reference was given “many years ago” before Malik committed the offences.

“I have not spoken to this man for over five years and I am horrifed at these offences,” he said.

It is understood Ahmed worked as a taxi driver, though Milton Keynes Council can find no record of him having a licence locally.

Mr Shafiq resigned as Mayor of Milton Keynes in August after it emerged that a taxi driver he personally vouched for was a convicted rapist. Nadeem Ahmed Kiani had four previous convictions for serious sexual offences, where he and a friend worked together to threaten women with weapons before raping them.

Although Mr Shafiq is no longer mayor he has refused to step down as a councillor –and his party has encouraged him to stay.

Last week the Citizen exclusively revealed Mr Shafiq had been linked to an alleged immigration racket that provides false citizenship test certificates for foreign workers. Police have now requested to see our evidence.

On Wednesday, as the Citizen went to press, a spokesman for Lib Dem headquarters in London vowed an “urgent investigation” would be held.

Meanwhile a Home Office spokesperson said: “We will consider all evidence we receive concerning allegations of fraudulent behaviour in the immigration system.”

Already one leading Lib Dem has admitted Mr Shafiq may have to stand down.

Councillor Ric Brackenbury told the Citizen: “Any councillor only serves as a representative of their electors with their consent.

“If they have lost their confidence or no longer wish to continue, the cost has to be balanced against the lack of effective representation in that ward.”

Mr Brackenbury even suggested the public should have the right to sack councillors.

He said: “MPs are discussing recall measures at the moment – maybe it’s time to look at similar measures for councillors to give power to our residents to withdraw that consent, should they wish.”

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

Taxi driver given parking ticket while helping wheelchair-bound woman into taxi

Anthony Clarke helping disabled passenger Julie Carnelley in to his taxi in Upper Parliament Street.

THE city council has apologised after a cabbie was given a parking ticket while he helped a woman in a wheelchair into his taxi.

Julie Carnelley said she was “gobsmacked” when the attendant pounced as the driver was helping her into his cab outside Jobcentre Plus in Upper Parliament Street, where she works as a clerical officer.

The 46-year-old mother has multiple sclerosis and uses a taxi to take her to and from work every day. She has been picked up from the same spot for the past two years and while it does require the driver to wait on double yellow lines, she says it is the first time a ticket has been issued.

After being contacted by the Post, the city council agreed to scrap the fine for taxi firm NG11 Cars and apologised.

Ms Carnelley, of Brinkhill Crescent, Clifton said: “As the driver was coming to fetch me, there was the traffic warden writing the ticket – even though he could see me being escorted to the car.

“Traffic wardens have enquired before and the drivers tell them they are waiting to pick up a disabled passenger. It was wrong so I’m really glad the Post stepped in.”

Drivers are not permitted to park on double yellow lines without a blue badge.

However, vehicles are permitted to stop for five minutes to pick up or drop off a passenger, and commercial vehicles can load and unload.

The cab arrived at 2.57pm on Tuesday to pick up Ms Carnelley outside the front doors of her office. When Ms Carnelley left the building at 3pm, taxi driver Anthony Clarke got out of his car to prepare the disabled ramp at the back of the vehicle.

And at 3.04pm – as she was being lifted into the car – the traffic warden issued the ticket.

Ms Carnelley added: “It was unbelievable; I came out of work to see a traffic warden waiting. I was gobsmacked.”

Mr Clarke, 57, of Holbrook Court, Clifton, added: “He could see I had a disabled person in my car. I took the ticket off and said ‘this is ridiculous’ but he had walked off by then.”

Rob Foster, co-owner of NG11 Cars in Clifton, said: “I can understand if it had been there for half-an-hour. If they’re doing this, then who else are they giving tickets to?”

Pete Mitchell, head of licensing, permits and regulations at the city council, said: “We’re sorry this ticket was issued and cancelled it as soon as it was brought to our attention.

“The traffic warden should have used discretion when it became apparent the driver was helping a disabled passenger into his taxi, and given him more than the five minutes we normally allow.

“We’d like to apologise to NG11 Cars and Ms Carnelley. Steps will be taken to make sure this is not repeated.”

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/

Taxileaks: Are provincial passengers safer than their London cousins?

The excellent Taxileaks blog recently made an excellent point on its blog – the part of the article provincial readers will be interested in goes as follows – the full article is available on the Taxileaks blog: http://taxileaks.blogspot.co.uk/

PRIVATE HIRE PARADOX

 

Clause 10 has recently been abandoned from the deregulation bill currently going through parliament. This would reflect the view that all over the UK (excluding London), it is deemed a huge safety issue and that only licensed private hire drivers should be driving licensed private hire vehicles.

Unfortunately for the traveling public in London, TfL say that anyone can currently drive a private hire minicab around the capital, whether they are licensed or not. 

Because of this factor, it then seems incredible that the only mandatory notification on a PHV, to show that it is in fact a licensed vehicle, is an unreadable yellow roundel, that nine times out of ten is obscured by tinted windows. 

Even though the Taxi trade have to have a purpose built vehicle, carrying both a registration number plate from the DVLA and also a TfL Hackney Carriage plate, it seems strange that we should also need our badge number emblazoned on the ID card identifying the driver.

Considering the security status we currently find ourselves in, only TfL licensed registered drivers should be allowed to drive minicabs. PH drivers should also be identifiable and should be matchable to a particular vehicle by means of their badge number, displayed on front and rear windows.

If it’s good enough for Taxis…then it’s good enough for PH. 

TfL recently announced that PH driver numbers currently exceeded 71,000. A recent FOI request by Taxi Leaks staff, has uncovered that in the first six months of 2014, there were over 8,600 new PH driver applications granted.

Editorial Comment

The case of Benson v Boyce CO 2409-06 QBD 20th January 1997 resolved that any person driving a private hire vehicle for any purpose other than a prebooked vehicle fitness test must be a licensed private hire driver. All licences must be from same authority.

It is entirely possible those drawing up the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 were unaware of the case and therefore didn’t consider it relevant.

The recent worrying admissions from authorities that there does appear to be issues of abuse of London private hire vehicles whilst ‘off duty’ is something we believe should be grasped by both trade and safety campaigners.

 

 

 

Oct 30

Hull minicab driver David Ainsworth jailed for groping passengers

6938705977_0d226702c4_oA MINICAB driver who sexually assaulted two female passengers because his own marriage “lacked intimacy” has been jailed for six months.

David Ainsworth, 42, groped the women’s breasts during separate journeys earlier this year.

Hull Crown Court heard the 35 Minicabs private hire driver also offered one of the women a free journey home if she performed a sex act.

The 22-year-old woman had got into Ainsworth’s cab in east Hull in the early hours of February 11 to go to withdraw some money from a cashpoint.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was wearing pyjamas at the time.

Prosecutor Geraldine Kelly said: “They began talking. But, before long, Mr Ainsworth told the victim he was more interested in her breasts, leaned over and groped one of her breasts.

“The woman was in complete shock and so Ainsworth groped her breasts twice more.

“The woman had no mobile phone on her and felt vulnerable and scared because she couldn’t ring her boyfriend who was back at the house.”

Ainsworth, of Brough, then offered the woman a free fare if she performed a sexual act.

On March 19, Ainsworth picked up another woman who wanted to go home after a night out in Hull city centre.

As the passenger went to get out of the minicab near her home, Ainsworth ran around the car to grope her breasts as she stood on the pavement.

Mrs Kelly said: “The woman was pushed back onto the car. She managed to run away. She was shocked and humiliated.

“She says she is now very vulnerable and wary of being in the company of men.”

Ainsworth began his job as a minicab driver in 2001. At the time of the attacks, he worked for 35 Minicabs, based in Holderness Road, east Hull.

He was sacked after he was arrested by police in April.

In mitigation, Steven Garth said: “I have to admit there were two serious breaches of trust here.

“Mr Ainsworth married in 2002 but that relationship became unsatisfying. There was no love and he was very unhappy for months and months. It lacked intimacy.

“The breakdown of the marriage and loneliness of the job as a minicab driver may have something to do with what happened.”

Ainsworth has since secured a new job as a welder in Goole.

Judge Mark Bury told Ainsworth: “Both offences bear similarity and they were both on females at night time.

“In the first case, it was not long before you were making smutty remarks and touched her breasts three times.

“You then subjected her to more indignity when you told her to give you a sexual favour.

“She was horrified by that and quite rightly so.

“You have lost your job as a minicab driver which is hardly surprising.

“These offences are especially serious because the women were your fares. They trusted you.

“I am left with no choice but to give you a custodial sentence.

“There is also the element of deterrent and the public must be led to believe they are not at threat late at night.

“So my sentence is punishment for you and reassurance for the public.”

Oct 30

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (who’s watching the watchmen)

casey conf

 Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

By

Wayne Casey

For those of you who don’t understand the words in the title, its Latin, it roughly translates as ‘who’s watching the watchmen’, quite apt in the context of this article, even though I probably say so myself.

The licensed taxi trade has always prided itself on its professionalism – the professionalism has invariably come from the driver. It’s not the vehicle, as was hilariously once claimed by one vehicle manufacturer, it’s the person behind the wheel who 99.9% of the time takes the passenger to their destination without incident.

The legitimate trade cringe with embarrassment and anger when stories emerge in the press of ‘taxi rapes’ and ‘taxi drivers’ being involved in the sickening sex rings that seem to be emerging in various cities across the UK.

The legitimate trade are aware that such stories damage the reputation it has tried so hard to obtain. The trade need to work closely with bodies such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and other charities to ensure that authorities are clearly aware of the problems that are present and to show the wider public of our very real concerns.

However, the majority of stories are not ‘taxi’ stories at all, they involve the private hire (minicab) trade – yet for reasons of lazy journalism, ignorance and provocation, the press in almost all areas choose to report incidents using the word ‘taxi’ as a catch all.

Whilst the press are culpable, also culpable are authorities. Numerous local authorities choose to issue joint hackney carriage / private hire licenses, some decide the phrase ‘private hire taxi’ is a suitable one. They then allow minicab firms to use the word ‘taxi’ in not only their business names but also on vehicle signage – they then wonder why the public seem confused and have few qualms about getting into a vehicle that is illegally plying for hire.

I suppose they have a right to be confused, we recently appear to have had licenses issued on the say so of a politician as opposed to the ‘rigorous process’ many authorities claim to have in place.

The same type of ignorance was clearly demonstrated within the House of Lords during a recent debate on the proposed changes to the private hire aspects of the deregulation bill – some members appeared to have very little clue what they were talking about – getting confused between taxi and private hire with remarkable regularity.

Whilst members of the upper house appear confused about the difference between taxi and minicab, they also seemingly had few qualms about pointing the finger towards the Suzy Lamplugh trust in respect of London’s minicab laws.

Viscount Ridley being particularly scathing, pointing out and suggesting a relatively new charitable trust back in 1998 should have known about each and every working of a business they couldn’t be expected to completely understand – and a court case from Cumbria that changed provincial private hire law months before the presumably already drafted London PH act came into being. A cheap shot at a charity – I wonder what his encore was, strangulation of a kitten perhaps?

The shot was almost as cheap as the same chap getting it completely wrong in respect of PHV’s being unable to pick up outside of area, then wheeling out the wheelchair bound to underline his point.

If these are the people making law, little wonder the country appears to be in decline, naturally, it’s not a decline they feel – not too many daughters of peers get raped in illegal minicabs do they?

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to any politician that when the changes happen a private hire driver when working away from their district of license will be immune from local licensing authorities checking credentials. Naturally, if this is the case then nobody will actually know who is driving the vehicle – personally that scares the hell out of me.

It doesn’t seem to have dawned upon politicians that regulations are put in place for the safety of the public, not for the annoyance of minicab operators.

Like many others, I have very little faith in the ‘certificate of good conduct’ system employed by some local authorities. Some countries are inherently corrupt – and before you start shouting at me, I suggest you read up on corruption by transparency international http://www.transparency.org/cpi2013/results .

The NTA long campaigned for enhanced background checks on drivers – these background checks are only of true benefit if a person has resided in this country for a decent period of time, and even then, as we are all aware, some scumbags slip through the net.

However, something needs to be done. Licensed drivers have been implicated, arrested and imprisoned in places like Rochdale, Rotherham, London, Bristol & Oxford. Without doubt, people are entering the licensed industry with a single purpose.

I recall a case in Bournemouth where the local taxi association contacted and actually ran up a dossier of incidents on one particular driver – these reports went upon deaf ears – the driver was eventually caught and jailed. However, questions need asked and answers need to be given, indeed, P45’s should be handed out.

Questions need asked as to how the Department for transport came up with the idea of clauses 10, 11 & 12 entering the deregulation bill. Whilst clause 10 was dropped it still remains the case that unlicensed people can drive minicab ‘for non work purposes’ in the nations capital. Furthermore, there are inherent dangers with the two remaining clauses.

Badly briefed MP’s don’t appear to be fully aware of the very real danger the so called ‘Mother of Parliaments’ are about to unleash upon the country.

To hear a government minister tell the House that “People who are in this trade are not wealthy people” does tend to spring the question will the changes make anyone any wealthier. The answer to that is of course yes, it will make all those who leech off the licensed industries infinitely wealthier.

I’ll continue this article in the near future..

Oct 30

Milton Keynes Taxi Scandal: Ex-Milton Keynes Mayor vouched for asylum seeker who is now a convicted paedophile

Councillor Shafiq

Sex scandal mayor Subhan Shafiq has admitted giving a character reference to ANOTHER serious sex offender – an asylum seeker who is now a convicted paedophile.

This time Councillor Shafiq vouched for would-be cab driver Malik Aftab Ahmed when he applied to come to the UK from Pakistan.

But after his application was granted Malik was arrested and convicted of four counts of serious sexual assault – two of them involving a girl under the age of 16.

He is currently serving a five-year prison sentence and will be on the sex offenders register for life.

Mr Shafiq told the Citizen his Home Office reference was given “many years ago” before Malik committed the offences.

“I have not spoken to this man for over five years and I am horrifed at these offences,” he said.

It is understood Ahmed worked as a taxi driver, though Milton Keynes Council can find no record of him having a licence locally.

Mr Shafiq resigned as Mayor of Milton Keynes in August after it emerged that a taxi driver he personally vouched for was a convicted rapist. Nadeem Ahmed Kiani had four previous convictions for serious sexual offences, where he and a friend worked together to threaten women with weapons before raping them.

Although Mr Shafiq is no longer mayor he has refused to step down as a councillor –and his party has encouraged him to stay.

Last week the Citizen exclusively revealed Mr Shafiq had been linked to an alleged immigration racket that provides false citizenship test certificates for foreign workers. Police have now requested to see our evidence.

On Wednesday, as the Citizen went to press, a spokesman for Lib Dem headquarters in London vowed an “urgent investigation” would be held.

Meanwhile a Home Office spokesperson said: “We will consider all evidence we receive concerning allegations of fraudulent behaviour in the immigration system.”

Already one leading Lib Dem has admitted Mr Shafiq may have to stand down.

Councillor Ric Brackenbury told the Citizen: “Any councillor only serves as a representative of their electors with their consent.

“If they have lost their confidence or no longer wish to continue, the cost has to be balanced against the lack of effective representation in that ward.”

Mr Brackenbury even suggested the public should have the right to sack councillors.

He said: “MPs are discussing recall measures at the moment – maybe it’s time to look at similar measures for councillors to give power to our residents to withdraw that consent, should they wish.”

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

Oct 30

Taxi driver given parking ticket while helping wheelchair-bound woman into taxi

Anthony Clarke helping disabled passenger Julie Carnelley in to his taxi in Upper Parliament Street.

THE city council has apologised after a cabbie was given a parking ticket while he helped a woman in a wheelchair into his taxi.

Julie Carnelley said she was “gobsmacked” when the attendant pounced as the driver was helping her into his cab outside Jobcentre Plus in Upper Parliament Street, where she works as a clerical officer.

The 46-year-old mother has multiple sclerosis and uses a taxi to take her to and from work every day. She has been picked up from the same spot for the past two years and while it does require the driver to wait on double yellow lines, she says it is the first time a ticket has been issued.

After being contacted by the Post, the city council agreed to scrap the fine for taxi firm NG11 Cars and apologised.

Ms Carnelley, of Brinkhill Crescent, Clifton said: “As the driver was coming to fetch me, there was the traffic warden writing the ticket – even though he could see me being escorted to the car.

“Traffic wardens have enquired before and the drivers tell them they are waiting to pick up a disabled passenger. It was wrong so I’m really glad the Post stepped in.”

Drivers are not permitted to park on double yellow lines without a blue badge.

However, vehicles are permitted to stop for five minutes to pick up or drop off a passenger, and commercial vehicles can load and unload.

The cab arrived at 2.57pm on Tuesday to pick up Ms Carnelley outside the front doors of her office. When Ms Carnelley left the building at 3pm, taxi driver Anthony Clarke got out of his car to prepare the disabled ramp at the back of the vehicle.

And at 3.04pm – as she was being lifted into the car – the traffic warden issued the ticket.

Ms Carnelley added: “It was unbelievable; I came out of work to see a traffic warden waiting. I was gobsmacked.”

Mr Clarke, 57, of Holbrook Court, Clifton, added: “He could see I had a disabled person in my car. I took the ticket off and said ‘this is ridiculous’ but he had walked off by then.”

Rob Foster, co-owner of NG11 Cars in Clifton, said: “I can understand if it had been there for half-an-hour. If they’re doing this, then who else are they giving tickets to?”

Pete Mitchell, head of licensing, permits and regulations at the city council, said: “We’re sorry this ticket was issued and cancelled it as soon as it was brought to our attention.

“The traffic warden should have used discretion when it became apparent the driver was helping a disabled passenger into his taxi, and given him more than the five minutes we normally allow.

“We’d like to apologise to NG11 Cars and Ms Carnelley. Steps will be taken to make sure this is not repeated.”

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/

Oct 29

Taxileaks: Are provincial passengers safer than their London cousins?

The excellent Taxileaks blog recently made an excellent point on its blog – the part of the article provincial readers will be interested in goes as follows – the full article is available on the Taxileaks blog: http://taxileaks.blogspot.co.uk/

PRIVATE HIRE PARADOX

 

Clause 10 has recently been abandoned from the deregulation bill currently going through parliament. This would reflect the view that all over the UK (excluding London), it is deemed a huge safety issue and that only licensed private hire drivers should be driving licensed private hire vehicles.

Unfortunately for the traveling public in London, TfL say that anyone can currently drive a private hire minicab around the capital, whether they are licensed or not. 

Because of this factor, it then seems incredible that the only mandatory notification on a PHV, to show that it is in fact a licensed vehicle, is an unreadable yellow roundel, that nine times out of ten is obscured by tinted windows. 

Even though the Taxi trade have to have a purpose built vehicle, carrying both a registration number plate from the DVLA and also a TfL Hackney Carriage plate, it seems strange that we should also need our badge number emblazoned on the ID card identifying the driver.

Considering the security status we currently find ourselves in, only TfL licensed registered drivers should be allowed to drive minicabs. PH drivers should also be identifiable and should be matchable to a particular vehicle by means of their badge number, displayed on front and rear windows.

If it’s good enough for Taxis…then it’s good enough for PH. 

TfL recently announced that PH driver numbers currently exceeded 71,000. A recent FOI request by Taxi Leaks staff, has uncovered that in the first six months of 2014, there were over 8,600 new PH driver applications granted.

Editorial Comment

The case of Benson v Boyce CO 2409-06 QBD 20th January 1997 resolved that any person driving a private hire vehicle for any purpose other than a prebooked vehicle fitness test must be a licensed private hire driver. All licences must be from same authority.

It is entirely possible those drawing up the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 were unaware of the case and therefore didn’t consider it relevant.

The recent worrying admissions from authorities that there does appear to be issues of abuse of London private hire vehicles whilst ‘off duty’ is something we believe should be grasped by both trade and safety campaigners.

 

 

 

Oct 29

Social media used in fight against illegal plying

6938705977_0d226702c4_oFrustrated Leicester Hackney Carriage drivers have taken an initiative to counter flimper or illegal plying in their city.

After years of asking Leicester City Council to help combat the increase of illegal hiring’s – drivers have now launched their own information page on facebook –  for both customers and drivers to report incidents.

The site is called ‘Leicester Flimpers’, it provides information, photos and daily news to the City of Leicester in their on-going fight.

The head of the website team ‘Moz’ – explained he has had many confrontations with private hire drivers who don’t appear to care that they were stealing fares from licensed hackney carriages or the dangers they bring with incorrect insurance provision. He further added – “customers were so confused of what is legal, the correct fare, etc – he had to do something positive fast”.

In one incident last week – Moz remarked had left him startled by the sheer ignorance of the ‘flimpers’ in the city — the incident involving a 7 seater private hire vehicle touting and flimping in one go. Having witnessed the whole incident – he even heard the fare shouted – being a £7 increase off the meter price.

Moz and others now say apart from the flimping they will also kill trade by making genuine customers scared to step in any taxi.

Using facebook and social media will help provide good information to the public and also a deterant for flimpers whos photos could be posted by customers in an illegal taxi.

The soution isnt revenge or entrapment Moz commented – its helping the council focus directly on the problem and averting risks and hazards associated with the flimping.

link to Leicester Flimpers via facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008454840398

Oct 29

Coventry students urged to tell council about problem taxi drivers

The launch of the new Safer Student Travel advice card from Coventry City Council. Democracy and campaign officer from Coventry University, Marvin Nkemdirim, Coun Pat Hetherton, Coun Phil Townshend and Rob Ankcorn, of the University of Warwick Student Union.

Coventry City Council acts after complaints by students at University of Warwick about rogue cabbies

Students are being asked to tell the authorities about their experiences of using taxis in Coventry.

A huge debate over rogue taxi drivers was sparked by a survey of University of Warwick students which alleged widespread malpractice, including refusing short fares, discriminating against the disabled and sexism.

This led to Coventry City Council launching a campaign to ensure that both students and taxi drivers have the information needed to avoid any future problems.

A new Safer Student Travel advice card is now being shared among students that explains a few simple facts about taxi travel and encourages passengers to report their experience – both positive and negative – to Coventry’s taxi licensing team.

The project has been backed by both the University of Warwick and Coventry University.

Coun Pat Hetherton, chairman of the council’s licencing and regulatory committee, said: “A few weeks ago University of Warwick students highlighted a report on their experiences of taxi travel and it was clear that there was often a misunderstanding about how taxi fares are calculated and young people gave a mixed review of their experiences.

“For example, if the taxi journey crosses a border between Coventry and Warwickshire drivers can refuse or charge any price provided the amount is mutually agreed before the journey starts.

“That’s why we wanted to give some basic advice to encourage students to send in any comments, compliments and complaints to the council’s licensing team.”

Rob Ankcorn, of the University of Warwick Student Union, said: “It’s great that we have been able to work with the local authority and together can highlight the strengths and challenges that students have with taxi travel in the city and across into Warwick.”

Marvin Nkemdirim, democracy and campaign officer from Coventry University, echoed his words, saying: “We are always keen to improve life for Coventry students and taxi travel is often the first experience that people have of a city, which is why we are happy to liaise with Coventry City Council to ensure the success of this scheme.”

source: http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/

Oct 29

Man, 28, charged after two girls held in unlicensed taxi and threatened in Manchester city centre

David Austin, 28, from Salford, was arrested after two girls got into a vehicle on Bloom Street, in Manchester city centre, in the early hours of Saturday

A man has been charged with false imprisonment and robbery after two girls were held in an unlicensed taxi and threatened.

David Austin, 28, from Salford, was arrested after two girls got into a vehicle on Bloom Street, in Manchester city centre, in the early hours of Saturday (October 25).

Police say the pair were held in the car and a man, who had claimed it was a taxi, threatened to kill them.

They were able to escape and then rang 999.

Officers have since warned people not to use unlicensed taxis, especially late at night.

Mr Austin, of Earlesdon Crescent, Little Hulton, Salford, was later charged with two counts of false imprisonment, robbery, possession of a Class A substance and taking without consent.

He was remanded in custody and will appear before a judge at Manchester Crown Court on November 10.

A GMP spokesman said: “Police are warning the public not to use unlicensed taxis, particularly at night.”

Anyone who wants to report a crime should phone police on 101 or alternatively ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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

Oct 29

Bhangra music star taxi driver is jailed for sex attack

A TAXI driver who was also a chart-topping Indian musician has become the second cabbie this month to be jailed for a sex attack on a passenger.

Dhanraj Singh, of Greythorn Drive, West Bridgford, was taking a young woman home when he kissed and touched her.

The 24-year-old was told he breached his passenger’s trust because she was in his care and had been drinking.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Singh was a bhangra singer and was due to fly to Bombay to film a music video after topping the Asian music charts.

But instead, the father-of-two was sent to prison for nine months yesterday after being found guilty earlier this month of sexual assault.

Judge Gregory Dickinson said: “You are a talented, award-winning musician. You have put all of that in jeopardy.

“You were responsible for her safety and well-being.

“You took advantage of a lone female passenger who had been drinking.”

The judge said the effect on the victim had been “very serious”.

The court was told that the woman had made a statement saying she was “still raw” and was having ongoing counselling.

She had lost weight as a result of the attack on April 1, which had also affected her studies and left her feeling “vulnerable”.

For Singh, Mark Achurch told the court: “He is a family man with two children who had been working anti-social hours to support his family.

“It was a short-lived incident. He lost his taxi driver’s licence immediately and has been out of work and on benefits since.”

The case comes less than two weeks after another Nottingham taxi driver was jailed for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in the back of his cab.

Jamil Ahmed, chairman of Nottingham Licensed Taxi Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, said steps were being taken to keep passengers safe.

He said: “All the hackney cabs that are operating in Nottingham have been licensed by the city council.

“They have been through official checks so that there are no allegations of dishonesty, sexual or any type of offence.

“From the association’s point of view, if you spot any person you’re uncomfortable with, you can pass that information on to the association, who can then pass it on to the council.

“In all hackney cabs, the person is totally separate in their own environment.

“It’s a lot safer in their own hackney cab as opposed to a saloon car. That’s what we would suggest – to catch a hackney.”

The city council said that Singh was not licensed by the authority.

Pete Mitchell, the authority’s head of licensing, permits and regulation, said: “In terms of enforcement, we have staff out in the city centre checking taxis most nights of the week. In addition to this, we run multi-agency operations with the police.”

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/

Oct 29

Minicab driver jailed for ‘appalling’ sex assault on passenger

A pervert minicab driver who carried out an “appalling” sexual assault on a passenger has been jailed for six years.

David James still maintains he was innocent of the terrifying attack on the vulnerable woman in the back of his minicab in the early hours.

Recorder Simon Taylor QC told the 72-year-old great grandfather that drivers were in a position of great trust.

“You breached that trust in the most foul way by taking advantage of this young woman – of her being alone and in drink,” he said.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that the harm will be lasting to some degree. There are also elements of degradation and humiliation.”

James, of Sturdee Avenue, Gillingham, denied assault by penetration but was convicted last month.

Maidstone Crown Court heard James was working for a Chatham minicab firm when he drove the woman, 25, and three friends home from a nightclub in November last year.

She was the last to be dropped off in the early hours. As she took the change from her fare the father-of-three he kissed her, thrusting his tongue in her mouth.

She dropped her purse in the footwell and then found James had joined her in the back.

She tried to escape but James kissed her again and put his hand down her top. He then lifted her dress, pulled down her tights and assaulted her.

The victim told of being left in a “sobbing heap” and said she afterwards repeatedly showered and scrubbed herself because she felt so unclean.

James claimed the woman was “up for it” and twice snogged him. He insisted nothing else happened.

He said: “I was a bit surprised getting a kiss from a young girl. I thought: ‘Happy birthday.’”

Asked if he sexually assaulted the woman, he replied: “No, definitely not. I am a bit old for that.”

Recorder Taylor said he had given anxious consideration to imposing an extended sentence for public protection.

But he added: “Although your attitude to women, and in particular to the victim, is appalling and gives rise to real concern to a risk of reoffending, I don’t think you meet the criteria for an extended sentence within the Act.”

A sexual offences prevention order was made and James’ name will appear on the sex offenders’ register for life.

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

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