House of Lords Questions

Transport: Women’s Safety

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are currently taking to improve women’s safety on transport.

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): My Lords, we work on a number of fronts to improve safety and security for all passengers and staff. In particular, the Government are supporting a British Transport Police-led academic literature and tactical review on reducing sexual offending and improving perceptions of safety on transport. This research will be delivered for February 2015 and will support an international expert session to debate the findings.

Lord Berkeley (Lab): I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Is she aware of a study recently done in the UK and Canada that found that,

“women passengers generally prefer staffing to technological solutions and are very skeptical of the tendency of”—

transport operators—

“to replace staff from trains or buses with automated machines”.

Will she encourage operators to have more staff and fewer machines and CCTV and to recruit more women to the front line, which women also prefer in many instances?

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, I completely agree with recruiting women to the front line. It is also important to have a staff presence where that is feasible. I am very encouraged, for example, by Transport for London’s commitment to take staff out of the ticket offices and put them out on the platforms and places where the passengers are. However, if we were to man every station at all hours at all times, we would unfortunately have to close stations because of the inherent cost.

Baroness Scott of Needham Market (LD): Does the Minister share my concerns about the cycle rickshaws or pedicabs that operate in parts of central London? Unlicensed, the drivers are not required to be trained or insured; nor do they undergo CRB checks. Do the Government intend to take up the recommendation of the Law Commission and create local authority licensing for them?

Baroness Kramer: My noble friend is absolutely right: the Law Commission has provided some instructive direction on this. We received the Law Commission’s report in May. We will be following up on that and providing our response shortly. As she knows, the situation on licensing is somewhat different in London from elsewhere.

Lord Davies of Oldham (Lab): My Lords, why are the Government pressing ahead with Clause 12 of the Deregulation Bill? It supposedly frees us from red tape but actually reduces the safety checks on minicabs. Will the Minister review the Government’s approach—there is still time in the legislation—in the light of the recent case reported by the Daily Mail this weekend of a young woman who was taken from Leeds to Bradford where she was attacked and raped? Will the Minister accept that this is not just a triviality about red tape: it is about reducing the chances of gang rape? The criminals involved got sentences totalling 68 years.

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Davies, knows, even under the deregulated mechanisms, whenever a taxi or private car licence is issued there will be a CRB check every three years. I have also written to all the authorities to remind them that they should be working with their local police so that wherever there is an accusation or a crime they are immediately informed and can take appropriate action—and I do not just mean in a taxi cab, but where someone is accused.

Lord Borwick (Con): My Lords, I first declare an interest in the register that my wife is a Deputy Mayor of London and a member of the GLA. Will the Minister encourage the London Tube unions to allow Tube drivers who are not needed to drive the new automatic trains to walk along the carriages in the evening to improve the safety of women passengers rather than sitting in their cabins with nothing to do except open the doors?

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, I hope that all staff are totally aware of the priority that we must give safety to passengers. In any situation where it is safe, I would encourage staff to use an opportunity to make sure that safety is enhanced.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton (Lab): My Lords, would the Minister care to expand a little on her reply to my noble friend Lord Davies about the deregulation proposals? How can people be assured of safety without reference to anyone? Someone who has a minicab licence in place A can go to place B. It is not a safety or security issue. Will she please get the Government to reconsider their policy on this? I declare an interest in that the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, and I were involved in getting licensing for minicabs, and this—to mix a metaphor—drives a coach and horses through that.

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, the licensing of minicabs absolutely remains in place. It means that an operator can call a cab not just from within their own fleet but from a neighbouring area. That also has to be a licensed cab driver. The operator remains responsible for the journey.

New training for cabbies in Nottingham

TAXI drivers in Nottingham could be forced to take safeguarding training, according to a new report.

Nottingham City Council will next week consider whether to insist that combined hackney carriage and private hire drivers take the course.

These are drivers that are given the licence to drive both private hire vehicles and black cabs.

According to documents the training would be aimed at helping drivers “identify a vulnerable person” and “raise their understanding of the relationship between driver and vulnerable person and their responsibilities in this area.”

The changes if approved, would be effective from January 1 and apply to all new applicants for private hire or hackney carriage driver licenses in Nottingham.

All existing combined hackney carriage and private hire drivers will also be required to attend as part of their renewal process.

Failure to attend training might lead to drivers’ licenses not being granted.

The matter will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee takes place on Monday, December 1 at Loxley House.

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

report: http://committee.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/documents/s17413/REPORTFINAL011214%204.pdf

‘Racist’ mugger who ordered his dogs to attack Asian taxi driver with command ‘kill him, kill him’ is jailed for eight years

  • Guy Wallace, aged 20, used his two dogs to attack taxi driver Sajid Hussain

    Guy Wallace, who has been jailed for eight years after ordering his dogs to attack an Asian taxi driver before robbing him of his takings

  • Was heard shouting ‘Kill him, kill him’ after hurling racist abuse at driver
  • Mr Hussain suffered a bleed on the brain and a broken eye and nose socket
  • Taxi driver also had his £120 takings stolen and his mobile phone snatched
  • Wallace was arrested after a witnesses recognised him on Facebook
  • Admitted robbery and owning a dangerous dog at Burnley Crown Court
  • Jailed for eight years after judge described the case as a ‘terrifying incident’

A violent mugger who ordered his dogs to attack an Asian taxi driver by shouting ‘kill him, kill him’ after hurling racist abuse has been jailed for eight years.

Guy Wallace, 20, used his Alsatian and Staffordshire bull terrier as ‘weapons’ to maul Sajid Hussain and was also overheard shouting: ‘Go get him boy’ before robbing the victim of his takings.

Mr Hussain suffered multiple bites to his body during the attack and feared for his life as Wallace also shouted a torrent of racial abuse, which was heard by witnesses, and threatened to stab him with a machete.

The victim was left covered in blood with ‘shocking’ injuries, including a brain bleed and a smashed nose and eye socket.

He also had £120 snatched from a pocket and his mobile phone taken.

Father-to-be Wallace, from Accrington, Lancashire, who has a record for violence, was caught after a witness to the horrifying attack on May 17 recognised him on Facebook as he posed for pictures with the two dogs.

At Burnley Crown Court Wallace admitted robbery and being the owner of a dog which caused injury whilst dangerously out of control in a public place.

The German Shepherd, which was thought to have been trained to respond to orders to kill, was ordered to be destroyed.

Prosecutor Robert Elias told the hearing how Mr Hussain, who worked at Max Cabs in Accrington, finished his shift at 2.30am, parked his car outside his base and started to walk home.

He walked past Wallace’s flat and as he did so heard a voice shout: ‘Kill him, kill him.’

He looked up and saw Wallace with his Alsatian and was pointing towards Mr Hussain and goading the animal to become aggressive.

A fierce-looking German Shepherd then ran at the victim, biting the top of his thigh and knocking him to the ground.

Mr Elias said Wallace ran over and began to kick Mr Hussain to the head and body whilst he was on the ground.

The court heard that Wallace, pictured, used his Alsation and Staffordshire bull terrier as ‘weapons’ to maul the victim Sajid Hussain

The victim was trying to protect himself as the dog was still biting him.

The prosecutor said: ‘He was in fear of his life and the risk on the ground of a dog biting you is obvious.’

The prosecutor added that a second, younger dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier, then joined in and bit Mr Hussain near his left shin.

The victim managed to get up and staggered back to the taxi office. CCTV showed him returning to the road where the base was.

At the far end of the road, the dogs and the defendant could be seen attacking him and a man seemed to be pulling Wallace off the victim.

Mr Elias continued: ‘It’s clear the complainant was pursued by two dogs. He alerted the men working in the office. They came to his rescue and called the police. The dogs pursued him when he tried to escape.’

Wallace tried to grab Mr Hussain’s mobile phone and took £120 from the victim’s jacket pocket, ripping his clothes.

The prosecutor continued: ‘The defendant was seen by witnesses to be bouncing around as if under the influence of drunk or drugs.

‘He was heard by Mr Hussain and other witnesses to shout foul racial abuse at him and the other men.’

Mr Elias told the court Wallace had hold of the German Shepherd by the scruff of the neck, trying to goad it, saying, ‘Get em, get em boy.’

The dog was released again and the men retreated into the cab office to help Mr Hussain.

The prosecutor said Mr Hussain’s injuries were ‘quite shocking’ -his right eye was bruised and shut and he had bite marks to his legs.

He was taken to hospital, where the acute surgical team examined him and gave him a tetanus injection and intra-venous antibiotics,

A CT scan showed he had a brain bleed and fractures to his nose and eye socket. He was admitted and later referred to a maxillofacial consultant.

Wallace was later arrested but claimed the Alsatian escaped and he told Mr Hussain to calm down as he was panicking. He denied any racial comments and robbery.

The prosecutor added: ‘One of the witnesses recognised the defendant as he went to school with him and recognised him on Facebook.’

Wallace had 24 offences on his record, including affray and wounding.

Wallace was caught by police after a witness to the attack recognised him from pictures he posted of himself and the two dogs, pictured, on Facebook

Mr Elias said a police officer who went to see the German Shepherd considered it to be completely out of control and extremely frightening.

The other dog ‘could be salvaged’ and the RSPCA could be given custody of it and try and retrain and rehome it if they chose to.

Jonathan Dickinson, defending Wallace, whose girlfriend is due to give birth in December, said his client had ‘a lot of alcohol which almost certainly disinhibited him.’

Mr Dickinson added: ‘This is certainly not a carefully conceived plan to rob the unfortunate victim. He committed an offence which was horrific, but unplanned and reckless.

‘Once sober the following day, he couldn’t understand why he had acted in the way he did.

‘He realises alcohol has a very negative impact on his behaviour and he’s trying to get himself help.

‘He says he has severed contact with his criminal associates. He appears to be committed and motivated to change his ways.’

But passing sentence the judge Mr Recorder Peter Atherton said: ‘It as a terrifying incident for Mr Hussain. It has been severely disturbing for him.

‘Your dog was clearly your main weapon of attack. The robbery was incidental to the gratuitous violence which preceded it.’

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

David Mellor recorded in furious row with taxi driver

Mr Mellor accompanied his partner Lady Penelope Cobham at an event at Buckingham Palace before taking the taxi in Marylebone High Street

Mellor is used to putting his foot in his mouth

Former Conservative cabinet minister David Mellor has been secretly recorded having a heated row with a London taxi driver, a newspaper has reported.

He was recorded arguing about the best route to take to his preferred destination, the Sun wrote.

Mr Mellor is heard recounting some of his lifetime achievements in an attempt to persuade the taxi driver of 10 years that his way is the quickest.

A source close to Mr Mellor said the driver had provoked him.

The source also added that the argument had “ruined a wonderful day” for Mr Mellor.

‘Just shut up’

Mr Mellor climbed into the cab with partner Lady Penelope Cobham, who is the chairwoman of tourism body Visit England, outside a restaurant in Marylebone High Street, central London, at 5.50pm on Friday.

The couple wanted to go five miles to St Katharine Docks, east London, and were charged £29, the paper said.

In the recording Mr Mellor, 65, who served as national heritage secretary in Sir John Major’s government, appears to say: “You don’t know as much about London as I do.”

He adds: “You’ve been driving a cab for 10 years? I have been in the cabinet, I am an award-winning broadcaster, I’m a Queen’s Counsel, you think your experiences are anything compared to mine? Just shut up.

“Drive me whichever way you want, and keep a civil tongue in your head.”

The driver passed the recording to the tabloid newspaper.

Mr Mellor has developed a career as a radio broadcaster since losing his seat in the Commons in 1997.

In 1992 David Mellor resigned as heritage minister, blaming his departure on a constant barrage of hostile stories in the tabloid press.

Earlier in the day Lady Cobham had attended Buckingham Palace to be appointed a CBE for her services to tourism.

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

Nov 21

Number 2 region National Taxi Association: NOTICE OF REGIONAL MEETING

ntalogo1.jpg

 

Dear Sir/Madam

NOTICE OF REGIONAL MEETING

Arrangements have been made for a meeting of the No. 2 Region, and this will take place on Tuesday 2nd December 2014. The venue for the meeting is the Marriott Hotel (Alnwick Room), Queens Parade, Seaburn, Sunderland.

The Marriott Hotel is situated on the sea front at Sunderland, on the A183 Sunderland to South Shields coast road. Enclosed please find a copy of the relevant A-Z map provided by Sunderland Association.

Ample free parking is available within the hotel grounds.

Delegates are requested to assemble from 10.30 a.m. onwards, to enable the meeting to commence at 11.00 a.m. prompt. A buffet lunch has been organised by Sunderland Association and will be served in the restaurant at approximately 12.30 p.m.

I look forward to a good attendance from your Association at Sunderland.  

Yours sincerely,

T.E. Hines.

Regional Secretary.

North East & Cumbria.

 

NATIONAL TAXI ASSOCIATION

Regional Meeting

Number 2 Region

(North East & Cumbria)

TUESDAY 2nd DECEMBER 2014

 

Marriot Hotel, Queens Parade, Seaburn, Sunderland

Agenda

  • Chairman’s Opening Remarks
  • Apologies for Absence
  • Minutes of the last Regional Meeting
  • Matters Arising from the Minutes
  • Regional Director’s Report
  • 2014 Conference Report
  • Local Licensing Issues
  • Financial Report
  • Correspondence
  • Special Items
  • Any Other Business
  • Date, Time & Venue of Next Meeting

Nov 26

House of Lords Questions

Transport: Women’s Safety

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are currently taking to improve women’s safety on transport.

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): My Lords, we work on a number of fronts to improve safety and security for all passengers and staff. In particular, the Government are supporting a British Transport Police-led academic literature and tactical review on reducing sexual offending and improving perceptions of safety on transport. This research will be delivered for February 2015 and will support an international expert session to debate the findings.

Lord Berkeley (Lab): I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Is she aware of a study recently done in the UK and Canada that found that,

“women passengers generally prefer staffing to technological solutions and are very skeptical of the tendency of”—

transport operators—

“to replace staff from trains or buses with automated machines”.

Will she encourage operators to have more staff and fewer machines and CCTV and to recruit more women to the front line, which women also prefer in many instances?

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, I completely agree with recruiting women to the front line. It is also important to have a staff presence where that is feasible. I am very encouraged, for example, by Transport for London’s commitment to take staff out of the ticket offices and put them out on the platforms and places where the passengers are. However, if we were to man every station at all hours at all times, we would unfortunately have to close stations because of the inherent cost.

Baroness Scott of Needham Market (LD): Does the Minister share my concerns about the cycle rickshaws or pedicabs that operate in parts of central London? Unlicensed, the drivers are not required to be trained or insured; nor do they undergo CRB checks. Do the Government intend to take up the recommendation of the Law Commission and create local authority licensing for them?

Baroness Kramer: My noble friend is absolutely right: the Law Commission has provided some instructive direction on this. We received the Law Commission’s report in May. We will be following up on that and providing our response shortly. As she knows, the situation on licensing is somewhat different in London from elsewhere.

Lord Davies of Oldham (Lab): My Lords, why are the Government pressing ahead with Clause 12 of the Deregulation Bill? It supposedly frees us from red tape but actually reduces the safety checks on minicabs. Will the Minister review the Government’s approach—there is still time in the legislation—in the light of the recent case reported by the Daily Mail this weekend of a young woman who was taken from Leeds to Bradford where she was attacked and raped? Will the Minister accept that this is not just a triviality about red tape: it is about reducing the chances of gang rape? The criminals involved got sentences totalling 68 years.

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Davies, knows, even under the deregulated mechanisms, whenever a taxi or private car licence is issued there will be a CRB check every three years. I have also written to all the authorities to remind them that they should be working with their local police so that wherever there is an accusation or a crime they are immediately informed and can take appropriate action—and I do not just mean in a taxi cab, but where someone is accused.

Lord Borwick (Con): My Lords, I first declare an interest in the register that my wife is a Deputy Mayor of London and a member of the GLA. Will the Minister encourage the London Tube unions to allow Tube drivers who are not needed to drive the new automatic trains to walk along the carriages in the evening to improve the safety of women passengers rather than sitting in their cabins with nothing to do except open the doors?

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, I hope that all staff are totally aware of the priority that we must give safety to passengers. In any situation where it is safe, I would encourage staff to use an opportunity to make sure that safety is enhanced.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton (Lab): My Lords, would the Minister care to expand a little on her reply to my noble friend Lord Davies about the deregulation proposals? How can people be assured of safety without reference to anyone? Someone who has a minicab licence in place A can go to place B. It is not a safety or security issue. Will she please get the Government to reconsider their policy on this? I declare an interest in that the noble Baroness, Lady Gardner of Parkes, and I were involved in getting licensing for minicabs, and this—to mix a metaphor—drives a coach and horses through that.

Baroness Kramer: My Lords, the licensing of minicabs absolutely remains in place. It means that an operator can call a cab not just from within their own fleet but from a neighbouring area. That also has to be a licensed cab driver. The operator remains responsible for the journey.

Nov 26

New training for cabbies in Nottingham

TAXI drivers in Nottingham could be forced to take safeguarding training, according to a new report.

Nottingham City Council will next week consider whether to insist that combined hackney carriage and private hire drivers take the course.

These are drivers that are given the licence to drive both private hire vehicles and black cabs.

According to documents the training would be aimed at helping drivers “identify a vulnerable person” and “raise their understanding of the relationship between driver and vulnerable person and their responsibilities in this area.”

The changes if approved, would be effective from January 1 and apply to all new applicants for private hire or hackney carriage driver licenses in Nottingham.

All existing combined hackney carriage and private hire drivers will also be required to attend as part of their renewal process.

Failure to attend training might lead to drivers’ licenses not being granted.

The matter will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee takes place on Monday, December 1 at Loxley House.

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

report: http://committee.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/documents/s17413/REPORTFINAL011214%204.pdf

Nov 25

‘Racist’ mugger who ordered his dogs to attack Asian taxi driver with command ‘kill him, kill him’ is jailed for eight years

  • Guy Wallace, aged 20, used his two dogs to attack taxi driver Sajid Hussain

    Guy Wallace, who has been jailed for eight years after ordering his dogs to attack an Asian taxi driver before robbing him of his takings

  • Was heard shouting ‘Kill him, kill him’ after hurling racist abuse at driver
  • Mr Hussain suffered a bleed on the brain and a broken eye and nose socket
  • Taxi driver also had his £120 takings stolen and his mobile phone snatched
  • Wallace was arrested after a witnesses recognised him on Facebook
  • Admitted robbery and owning a dangerous dog at Burnley Crown Court
  • Jailed for eight years after judge described the case as a ‘terrifying incident’

A violent mugger who ordered his dogs to attack an Asian taxi driver by shouting ‘kill him, kill him’ after hurling racist abuse has been jailed for eight years.

Guy Wallace, 20, used his Alsatian and Staffordshire bull terrier as ‘weapons’ to maul Sajid Hussain and was also overheard shouting: ‘Go get him boy’ before robbing the victim of his takings.

Mr Hussain suffered multiple bites to his body during the attack and feared for his life as Wallace also shouted a torrent of racial abuse, which was heard by witnesses, and threatened to stab him with a machete.

The victim was left covered in blood with ‘shocking’ injuries, including a brain bleed and a smashed nose and eye socket.

He also had £120 snatched from a pocket and his mobile phone taken.

Father-to-be Wallace, from Accrington, Lancashire, who has a record for violence, was caught after a witness to the horrifying attack on May 17 recognised him on Facebook as he posed for pictures with the two dogs.

At Burnley Crown Court Wallace admitted robbery and being the owner of a dog which caused injury whilst dangerously out of control in a public place.

The German Shepherd, which was thought to have been trained to respond to orders to kill, was ordered to be destroyed.

Prosecutor Robert Elias told the hearing how Mr Hussain, who worked at Max Cabs in Accrington, finished his shift at 2.30am, parked his car outside his base and started to walk home.

He walked past Wallace’s flat and as he did so heard a voice shout: ‘Kill him, kill him.’

He looked up and saw Wallace with his Alsatian and was pointing towards Mr Hussain and goading the animal to become aggressive.

A fierce-looking German Shepherd then ran at the victim, biting the top of his thigh and knocking him to the ground.

Mr Elias said Wallace ran over and began to kick Mr Hussain to the head and body whilst he was on the ground.

The court heard that Wallace, pictured, used his Alsation and Staffordshire bull terrier as ‘weapons’ to maul the victim Sajid Hussain

The victim was trying to protect himself as the dog was still biting him.

The prosecutor said: ‘He was in fear of his life and the risk on the ground of a dog biting you is obvious.’

The prosecutor added that a second, younger dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier, then joined in and bit Mr Hussain near his left shin.

The victim managed to get up and staggered back to the taxi office. CCTV showed him returning to the road where the base was.

At the far end of the road, the dogs and the defendant could be seen attacking him and a man seemed to be pulling Wallace off the victim.

Mr Elias continued: ‘It’s clear the complainant was pursued by two dogs. He alerted the men working in the office. They came to his rescue and called the police. The dogs pursued him when he tried to escape.’

Wallace tried to grab Mr Hussain’s mobile phone and took £120 from the victim’s jacket pocket, ripping his clothes.

The prosecutor continued: ‘The defendant was seen by witnesses to be bouncing around as if under the influence of drunk or drugs.

‘He was heard by Mr Hussain and other witnesses to shout foul racial abuse at him and the other men.’

Mr Elias told the court Wallace had hold of the German Shepherd by the scruff of the neck, trying to goad it, saying, ‘Get em, get em boy.’

The dog was released again and the men retreated into the cab office to help Mr Hussain.

The prosecutor said Mr Hussain’s injuries were ‘quite shocking’ -his right eye was bruised and shut and he had bite marks to his legs.

He was taken to hospital, where the acute surgical team examined him and gave him a tetanus injection and intra-venous antibiotics,

A CT scan showed he had a brain bleed and fractures to his nose and eye socket. He was admitted and later referred to a maxillofacial consultant.

Wallace was later arrested but claimed the Alsatian escaped and he told Mr Hussain to calm down as he was panicking. He denied any racial comments and robbery.

The prosecutor added: ‘One of the witnesses recognised the defendant as he went to school with him and recognised him on Facebook.’

Wallace had 24 offences on his record, including affray and wounding.

Wallace was caught by police after a witness to the attack recognised him from pictures he posted of himself and the two dogs, pictured, on Facebook

Mr Elias said a police officer who went to see the German Shepherd considered it to be completely out of control and extremely frightening.

The other dog ‘could be salvaged’ and the RSPCA could be given custody of it and try and retrain and rehome it if they chose to.

Jonathan Dickinson, defending Wallace, whose girlfriend is due to give birth in December, said his client had ‘a lot of alcohol which almost certainly disinhibited him.’

Mr Dickinson added: ‘This is certainly not a carefully conceived plan to rob the unfortunate victim. He committed an offence which was horrific, but unplanned and reckless.

‘Once sober the following day, he couldn’t understand why he had acted in the way he did.

‘He realises alcohol has a very negative impact on his behaviour and he’s trying to get himself help.

‘He says he has severed contact with his criminal associates. He appears to be committed and motivated to change his ways.’

But passing sentence the judge Mr Recorder Peter Atherton said: ‘It as a terrifying incident for Mr Hussain. It has been severely disturbing for him.

‘Your dog was clearly your main weapon of attack. The robbery was incidental to the gratuitous violence which preceded it.’

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

Nov 25

David Mellor recorded in furious row with taxi driver

Mr Mellor accompanied his partner Lady Penelope Cobham at an event at Buckingham Palace before taking the taxi in Marylebone High Street

Mellor is used to putting his foot in his mouth

Former Conservative cabinet minister David Mellor has been secretly recorded having a heated row with a London taxi driver, a newspaper has reported.

He was recorded arguing about the best route to take to his preferred destination, the Sun wrote.

Mr Mellor is heard recounting some of his lifetime achievements in an attempt to persuade the taxi driver of 10 years that his way is the quickest.

A source close to Mr Mellor said the driver had provoked him.

The source also added that the argument had “ruined a wonderful day” for Mr Mellor.

‘Just shut up’

Mr Mellor climbed into the cab with partner Lady Penelope Cobham, who is the chairwoman of tourism body Visit England, outside a restaurant in Marylebone High Street, central London, at 5.50pm on Friday.

The couple wanted to go five miles to St Katharine Docks, east London, and were charged £29, the paper said.

In the recording Mr Mellor, 65, who served as national heritage secretary in Sir John Major’s government, appears to say: “You don’t know as much about London as I do.”

He adds: “You’ve been driving a cab for 10 years? I have been in the cabinet, I am an award-winning broadcaster, I’m a Queen’s Counsel, you think your experiences are anything compared to mine? Just shut up.

“Drive me whichever way you want, and keep a civil tongue in your head.”

The driver passed the recording to the tabloid newspaper.

Mr Mellor has developed a career as a radio broadcaster since losing his seat in the Commons in 1997.

In 1992 David Mellor resigned as heritage minister, blaming his departure on a constant barrage of hostile stories in the tabloid press.

Earlier in the day Lady Cobham had attended Buckingham Palace to be appointed a CBE for her services to tourism.

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

Nov 24

Out of Town Hackney Carriage almost kills cyclist in Manchester

Nov 24

Crackdown leads to 18 suspensions

6938705977_0d226702c4_oEIGHTEEN minicab drivers have had their licences suspended after a joint crackdown by the police and Bradford Council.

Chief Inspector Sarah Baker, of Bradford District police, said: “These checks were carried out to make sure that drivers were complying with the conditions of their licences and for safety reasons.

“In total, 66 vehicles were stopped with 18 drivers suspended for breaching their conditions.

“Police will continue to work in partnership with Bradford Council to make sure that private hire drivers comply with their terms and conditions and that the vehicles remain roadworthy.”

Khurram Shehzad, chairman of the Bradford Private Hire Liaison Service, said he had concerns that some private hire drivers had been unfairly suspended for picking up customers who had not pre-booked.

He said in a new tactic, enforcement officers had posed as customers, which he suggested could be seen as entrapment.

Mr Shehzad said the drivers had made a genuine mistake when trying to find the customers who had booked them.

A council spokesman said: “It’s illegal for private hire drivers to ply for trade and take fares without booking.

“There has been no change in the council’s approach to enforcement.”

The operation ran from October 4 to October 31.

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

Nov 24

Attacked driver calls for CCTV in cabs as standard

Kenny Gillespie suffered horrific injuries when he was attacked

A GLASGOW taxi driver badly beaten at work is campaigning for CCTV to be fitted in cabs as standard.

Grandfather Kenny Gillespie was left with horrendous facial injuries, including a fractured cheekbone and scratched eyeballs, when he was attacked by a customer.

The 48-year-old, who has been driving taxis for 20 years, says the assault, which happened last October, has left him considering giving up his job.

The case went to court recently and those on trial were found not guilty.

Kenny believes that if surveillance equipment had been allowed in his cab at the time of the incident it could have helped his case.

In January this year Glasgow City Council gave black cab and private hire car drivers the green light to allow the installation of CCTV.

Now Kenny, a Glasgow Taxis Ltd driver, believes CCTV should be in all cabs to help prevent crime and keep both drivers and customers safe.

He said he had asked customers to leave his cab because they were singing sectarian songs.

Kenny Gillespie suffered horrific injuries when he was attacked

He said: “The guys were being abusive so I asked them to leave the vehicle.

“I ended up with a fracture on my cheekbone – also called an orbital blow out.”

Kenny’s eyes were also scratched and he says his face is still numb in places.

Kenny, who teaches health and safety for the union Unite, emailed Glasgow city councillors with the image of his beaten face at the time.

Soon after the Licensing and Regulatory Committee ruled to allow CCTV in cabs.

Kenny said: “Now I would like to see CCTV being fitted as standard by manufacturers.

“Whether or not you actually activate the system it would be up to you as a driver but I would like to see it installed as a standard feature within our different vehicles.

“Right now it’s only when a driver’s involved with a serious incident they look at this kind of technology.

“I’m not sure if I want to be a taxi driver any more after what’s happened, I don’t enjoy it.”

As the Evening Times reported in August 2013, taxi operator Eddie Black and driver Nadeem Hussain had campaigned to be given permission to install CCTV in cabs.

Eddie had been ordered by the city council to remove the CCTV system he installed to stop racial abuse of driver Nadeem.

Dad-of-two Nadeem, 41, said: “When Kenny emailed all the councillors it made a difference.

“We were pleased we won the battle to be allowed to install CCTV in our cabs.

“Now it’s about getting more drivers on board.”

Nadeem said many of the drivers in the city had been abused at work.

He said: “I’ve got an associate who installed CCTV last week because he was getting anti-English abuse.

“For whatever reason, if you’re an ethnic minority, if you’re English, or whatever it may be, you experience it.

“It’s common.”

Eddie, 61, added: “It’s a security and safety thing for the passengers too. If you have a camera and everything’s recorded.”

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

Nov 24

Asda parking fine: Hamilton taxi driver’s fury

Taxi driver James Stewart who received a parking fine at Asda Hamilton

Hamilton taxi driver was furious to receive a parking fine at the town’s Asda carpark.

James Stewart will often pop in and out of the supermarket dropping off passengers.

New cameras were recently installed, clocking drivers in and out and fining anyone staying more than three hours.

However, as he is a driver for Hamilton TOA, James had assumed he was exempt.

He was therefore surprised to receive a fine letter, or Penalty Charge Notice, from Smart Parking claiming he had been in the car park for around eight hours on October 25.

James, who lives in Burnbank, said: “You can see from the picture it’s a taxi.

“Do they really think a taxi will go in and sit for that length of time?

“When I phoned up they said I would have to write in and appeal.

“Why should I have to appeal something I haven’t done?

“Other drivers have been fined as well, at least five including myself.

“Another driver was clocked as being there for 17 hours. That’s ludicrous.

“But they just keep saying they can’t discuss it over the phone.”

When the Advertiser first contacted Smart Parking they stuck to their guns saying that the eight hour stay was accurate.

They said unlike previous days, James was not clocked coming and going from the carpark, but was there for one lengthy period.

They also said they had no record of James phoning them.

A spokesman for Smart Parking said: “In relation to Mr Stewart’s claim, Smart Parking have investigated back to July 1, 2014, and can see all of the periods when he has entered and exited the Asda Hamilton facility.

“On this occasion, Mr Stewart’s vehicle was photographed entering at a specific time and exiting at a specific time, hence the issuance of a PCN notice.

“Having viewed all relevant data, we cannot find fault with the specific system and note that it was functioning correctly during the period in question.

“Additionally, our system cannot find any evidence of Mr Stewart’s claim that he has discussed the issue with one of our service team.”

However, when James got back in touch with the company they decided to back down.

He said he could provide evidence that he was out on a number of jobs for Hamilton TOA that day.

They agreed to cancel his fine.

James thanked the Advertiser for our help in the matter.

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

Nov 24

Nottinghamshire minicabs charges extra for passengers in wheelchairs

We apologise to readers in respect of this story – it appears everyone concerned seems to be confusing minicabs with licensed taxis (whose fares are controlled by the local authority – we have attempted to rectify the story in places – but this wasn’t entirely possible given some of the statements made.

Minicab drivers have come under fire for charging extra for passengers in wheelchairs.

Disabled Fiona Reid visited Nottingham for her sister’s hen party and was shocked to find she had been charged three times the amount of her friends for a minicab from the Hilton hotel in Milton Street to Bistro Live in Barker Gate.

Miss Reid said she felt discriminated against after she was charged £15 by Trent Cars. But a spokesman for DG Cars, which runs Trent Cars, said the extra charge was an industry standard.

Miss Reid, who is from Lincolnshire and has cerebral palsy, said: “We discussed taxi costs and they had paid between £3.50 and £4.50 for theirs. I felt frustrated and that it was unfair. When I got home, I found it appeared to be an issue nationwide.”

A spokesman for DG Cars said the increased fare for wheelchair users was due to larger vehicles and having different licences. He said: “Three times as much sounds unusual but the minimum fare we have is £12, but it depends on the journey. We have a large number of wheelchair-accessible vehicles and we try to keep our prices as low as we can.”

Charlotte Throssel, services manager at Disability Direct Nottingham, said taxi firms often charge more for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. She said: “We come across this issue a lot.

“Most taxi firms do charge extra for vehicles that are wheelchair-accessible, so we would advise people who can get out of their wheelchairs to do so.”

Pete Mitchell, head of licensing, permits and regulations at Nottingham City Council, said: “We are very sympathetic to Miss Reid’s situation but this is something for her to take up with the taxi firm. While we do not agree with this type of pricing structure, where it appears a disabled passenger has been charged three times the standard cost of the journey, the city council is not involved in the setting of fares.”

Gavin Smith, who works at Nottingham Cars, said most taxi firms have set fares for wheelchair users. He added: “It all depends on the journey but most of the time it can cost around £4 or £5 more for wheelchair users.”

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

Nov 24

Taxi drivers dodge district’s strict safety checks by exploiting legal loophole

Stuart Hastings, boss of taxi firm Metro Keighley

TAXI drivers are dodging the district’s strict safety checks by exploiting a legal loophole.

And the problem is “out of control”, according to the owner of one cab firm.

Some local cabbies are deliberately getting their licences from other local authorities rather than from Bradford Council.

This means Bradford’s licensing enforcement officers, who often carry out spot safety checks on cabs, have no jurisdiction over these drivers.

It also means the cabbies can get lower motor insurance premiums, compared to Bradford’s high prices, licensing bosses believe.

And other local authorities also have different standards for drivers’ criminal records, vehicle safety and other licensing criteria such as whether cabbies have to sit knowledge tests.

Many drivers are getting their licenses from Rossendale Council in Lancashire, a rural area which has no upper limit on the number of hackney carriage licenses it will give out.

Stuart Hastings, the boss of private hire firm Metro Keighley, said he refused to take on drivers who had Rossendale licenses, but he estimated there were 30 to 40 Rossendale drivers in Keighley alone.

He said: “It is out of control.”

Mr Hastings said there was a perception that the licensing regime was less strict in Rossendale than in Bradford.

Khurram Shehzad, the chairman of Bradford Private Hire Liaison Service, said he disapproved of the practice of using Rossendale licences.

But he said drivers were doing so out of frustration with Bradford’s strict licensing rules.

He said: “I don’t think it is a good idea, but the council is forcing drivers to go there, because they are so heavy-handed.”

Licensing bosses first started spotting the Rossendale cabs around two years ago, and it is now believed that around 80 drivers in Bradford hold these licences.

But the practice is entirely legal – hackney carriages licensed for one area can lawfully operate as private hire cars anywhere else in the country.

Councillor Brian Morris (Ukip, Keighley West), a former taxi driver, said he was very worried that the safety of the public was being put at risk by a “stupid and ridiculous” law.

He said: “If a Rossendale taxi driver, or any other out-of-town taxi driver, comes and works in Keighley, how does the public know that the man sitting behind the wheel is the man who has actually got the licence? They don’t.

“Can Bradford’s hackney carriage enforcement officers ask them that question? No they can’t.

“Can they stop them? No they can’t.”

Bradford is not the only local authority affected by the problem.

A spokesman for Bradford Council said it was taking the issue very seriously, and that in the past year, Bradford had arranged and hosted meetings with other local authorities to discuss the matter.

The authority is now working with Rossendale Council so that Bradford’s officers can be given delegated powers to at least enforce Rossendale’s rules on any of its drivers they stop.

And the police are also able to carry out safety inspections.

Bradford Council principal officer Geoff Binnington said: “Council officers will continue to work in partnership with the police to make sure drivers licensed by Bradford remain compliant with their conditions and those who are licensed outside of Bradford are using vehicles which are safe for the travelling public.”

A spokesman for Rossendale Borough Council said it set high standards for taxi drivers, who had to pass a stringent medical check, criminal record check and ‘fit and proper person’ test.

He said: “Rossendale Borough Council’s taxi licensing procedure is extremely robust.”

Rossendale has 1,200 licensed hackney carriages in total, for its population of 65,000.

In contrast, Bradford has just 222 hackney carriages, for a population of more than 500,000.

Councillor Simon Cooke, deputy leader of Bradford’s Conservative group, said the key question for him was whether the safety of the public was being compromised.

And Councillor Dominic Fear (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley), said he was concerned that people who wanted to complain about a taxi driver wouldn’t know where to turn if they weren’t licensed by Bradford Council.

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

Older posts «

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.