Cabbies and private hire drivers who operate illegally in Birmingham are being warned they will be caught and face prosecution.
New signs have been installed across the city centre reminding drivers against breaking the law and touting for on-street business – a specific offence known in the trade as ’plying.’
Almost 50 rogue drivers were found illegally picking up people in the city during the last 18 months as part of a crackdown.
Warning that CCTV is in operation, the 100 reflective signs have been put near prominent entertainment spots including:
Offenders face penalty points, hefty court fines and being struck off the council’s books.
West Midlands Police works in partnership with Birmingham City Council’s licensing team to tackle illegal plying for hire.
People who accept unbooked lifts from private hire drivers are not insured in the event of being injured in an accident; only Hackney Carriage vehicles can take fares without being booked in advance.
However, it is also an offence for Hackney Carriage vehicles to tout for customers outside of the council area it is licensed – again making passenger insurance void.
These signs leave no excuses for rogue drivers, if they illegally ply for hire they will be caught.
The majority operate legitimately but there are those who seek to take advantage and make extra cash. Some drivers will use weak excuses such as giving a friend a lift home yet are unable to provide their name or address.
We have seen drivers given six to nine points on their licence along with some drivers being disqualified from driving. One driver was left with a court bill of £1,800.
We would always urge passengers to book their journey or make sure they use a properly licenced cab.
– Enforcement officer PC Dave Humpherson, from West Midlands Police