Extra training for Burnley taxi drivers

Burnley Council is set to introduce training to raise child sexual exploitation (CSE) awareness among taxi drivers, in line with advice and guidance from national experts.

The council is recommended to incorporate CSE training as a requirement for all hackney carriage (black cab) and private hire drivers licensed in the borough.

The training is aimed at providing taxi drivers with the means to recognise vulnerability and act positively in engaging with other agencies, providing guidance as to how they should behave with all customers, not just young people, and how the council and taxi trade can work together using the drivers as our “eyes and ears” out there.

The CSE training has been developed throughout east Lancashire by licensing officers to ensure a consistent approach to training and has the support of the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner.

If agreed, the new rules would mean all existing drivers who complete a council-approved awareness course before the end of this year could so without any cost to them. Any new driver or operator licence applicants would have to cover the £15 cost themselves.

The council has been in discussions with the taxi trade regarding introducing the awareness course.

The council’s principal licensing officer Peter Henderson said: “Everyone has a role to play in tackling child exploitation.

“Taxi drivers can find themselves in situations where they are with young people who could be in a vulnerable state or who could be in need of help. We want all our drivers and operators to be better informed about the issue of child exploitation and people trafficking and be able to act in a positive way if necessary.

“This is about supporting the wider work that the police and other agencies are doing to protect vulnerable young people. It’s about introducing ‘best practice’ and giving drivers and operators some basic knowledge and information so that, if a situation does arise, they know how to deal with it.

“We all have a role in tackling child sexual exploitation and the basic rule is ‘if there’s doubt, there is no doubt’. If a taxi driver is concerned about the safety of a young person in their cab this course will show that what they should do.”

The course will be delivered by safeguarding professionals at Burnley College who worked with specialist officers from Lancashire Police. Training is expected to take around two hours to complete.

The report to the licensing committee highlights the inquiry into the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal which found that “there is nowhere more important than in taxi licensing where sometimes vulnerable people are unaccompanied in a car with a stranger.”

Burnley’s approach is about acting in line with the best practice nationally.

It is part of the wider partnership working between the council and the taxi trade to make sure that everyone who uses taxis can be confident about the service they are receiving.

The training for drivers and operators has five core themes:

  • Basic CSE awareness, signs and symptoms
  • Recognition of their own responsibilities
  • Recognise how they should behave professionally
  • How they can report any concerns, suspicions they have
  • Understanding victims – breaking myths

    source: http://www.2br.co.uk/

Renfrew taxi driver caught with £300,000 of cocaine on M74 motorway

A RENFREW taxi driver who was caught ferrying high purity cocaine worth more than £300,000 on the streets was jailed two years and eight months today.

Thomas Haggerty was stopped by police near Lockerbie, in Dumfriesshire, as he drove the consignment of Class A drugs north.

Haggerty, 30, of Lang Avenue, Renfrew, was found to have two kilos of cocaine after he was stopped by officers on July 28 last year.

But the blocks, which were stamped with a “Vans” logo, were discovered to be nearly 60 per cent pure after testing.

They had the potential to produce eight kilos of the drug if they were bulked out to produce narcotics of the normal level of strength found on the streets.

If the adulterated drug was sold in one gram deals it had the potential to be worth £312,000.

A judge told Haggerty at the High Court in Edinburgh: “The trafficking in Class A drugs is a vile and evil trade bringing misery to individuals and communities.”

Lord Boyd of Duncansby said: “You have a limited record and from what I have read a good work ethos.”

The judge said that the amount of cocaine involved in the seizure was “not insignificant”.

He told Haggerty he would have jailed him for four years if he had been convicted after trial, but said the sentence would be reduced following his guilty plea.

Haggerty had earlier admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine on the A74(M) Carlisle to Glasgow road.

The court heard that police saw him driving in the northbound carriageway and were aware of intelligence that he was carrying drugs from the Merseyside area to Scotland. Haggerty was alone in the vehicle when it was stopped.

Defence counsel Paul Nelson said Haggerty had acted as a courier on one day after finding himself in “a difficult position”.

source: http://www.the-gazette.co.uk/

Uber minicab driver shows no remorse after he is jailed for 27 years for “execution” of Shawlands shopkeeper Asad Shah

A KILLER showed no remorse after he was jailed for life for the “execution” of popular Shawlands shopkeeper Asad Shah .

Tanveer Ahmed, 32, was told at Glasgow’s High Court on Tuesday that he will spend a minimum of 27 years in prison for the murder of the 40-year-old on March 24.

The killing, which was described by Lady Rae as an execution, happened at Mr Shah convenience store in Minard Road.

Mr Shah, an Ahmadi Muslim who moved from Pakistan to Glasgow in 1998, was discovered outside his shop with stab wounds and rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

He had wished Christians a “very happy Easter” on Facebook hours before the brutal murder.

Uber minicab driver Ahmed was arrested and following a court hearing in April he released a statement through his lawyer saying Mr Shah had “disrespected the message of the Prophet Muhammad”.

He said the shopkeeper “claimed to be a prophet” and that “if I had not done this others would”.

The court was previously told Ahmed, a Sufi Muslim, drove from Bradford to Glasgow on the day of the murder and engaged in a discussion with Mr Shah at his store before pulling out a knife and attacking the shopkeeper.

En route to Glasgow he had watched online footage of Mr Shah and made the comment “something needs to be done, it needs nipped in the bud”.

Mr Shah fled violence in Pakistan to join his family in Scotland in 1998 and was granted asylum.

Ahmadis differ from the majority of Muslims in that they do not hold that Muhammad is the final Prophet.

Evidence gathered showed that Mr Shah had posted videos on Facebook and YouTube which could be seen as him claiming that he was a Prophet.

Lady Rae said the murder was a “brutal, barbaric and horrific crime resulting from intolerance.”

She told the court the CCTV footage captured during the murder was “an appalling display of merciless violence”.

She said: “You repeatedly stabbed Mr Shah and when his shop assistant bravely disarmed you, you did not desist but, determined to end his life, you continued the assault by repeatedly and forcefully punching, kicking and stamping on your victim’s head and neck.

“You ignored the pleas of Mr Shah’s brother to stop the attack. Such was the force of your repeated blows that some of the head and neck injuries found at the post mortem were described as being more commonly seen in victims of road accidents.”

The court heard Ahmed, from Bradford, was highly regarding within his own community.

The Judge said she had received glowing references and touching letters from Ahmed’s children.

When Ahmed was taken down to the cells, he raised a clenched fist and shouted loudly: “Praise for the Prophet Muhammad, there is only one Prophet.”

Some of his supporters in the courtroom responded by raising their arms and repeating the phrase.

Female relatives of Ahmed were in tears as they left the court.

Police Scotland officers said from the outset that they believed the attack was religiously prejudiced.

Chief Superintendent Brian McInulty, Local Policing Commander for Greater Glasgow Division, said, “Our thoughts continue to be with the family of Asad Shah, whose presence in the community is very much missed by everyone who knew him.

“I hope that the sentencing today will reassure the immediate community in Glasgow’s south-side as well as communities all across Scotland that acts of violence such as this are utterly unacceptable and cannot be justified.

“Glasgow is a strong, united, multi-faith community that has immense pride in its diversity. In fact, our communities celebrate this diversity, with people from all backgrounds, faiths and culture living, working and socialising together. Religious intolerance in any form is simply not tolerated in our society and Police Scotland will work in partnership with our communities to eradicate such behaviour, to ensure that no individual, group or community feels isolated, marginalised or threatened.”

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

Uber minicab driver who murdered Shawlands shopkeeper Asad Shah to be sentenced today

A Uber minicab driver who murdered a shopkeeper for claiming he was a prophet will be sentenced today.

Tanveer Ahmed, 32, travelled from Yorkshire to Glasgow to confront Asad Shah at his store before pulling out a knife and stabbing the 40-year-old.

Ahmed claimed to have been offended by clips Mr Shah had posted online which he said ”disrespected the Prophet Muhammad”.

The Bradford father-of-three will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow after admitting the murder in Glasgow’s Shawlands area on March 24.

Mr Shah’s brother and a shop assistant tried to fend Ahmed off as he launched his attack on the popular businessman, described by locals as a ”pillar of the community”.

The Shah family, who moved to Scotland from Pakistan in the 1990s to escape persecution, belong to the Ahmadi sect of Islam whose beliefs differ from the majority of Muslims.

The court heard their belief that Prophet Muhammad was not the final prophet was a view many consider blasphemous.

In a statement released through his lawyer after the killing, Ahmed said: ”If I had not done this others would have and there would be more killings and violence in the world.”

Judge Lady Rae told Ahmed ahead of sentencing: ”There’s no justification whatsoever for what you did.”

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

Angry Luton taxi drivers blame council

Luton taxi drivers are unhappy that Dunstable taxi drivers do not have to pass a Luton knowledge test before transferring their licence to Luton Borough Council

Luton taxi drivers are unhappy that their Dunstable counterparts are ‘invading’ their territory and not being required to sit the same tests.

A taxi driver from Luton, who does not wish to be named, is furious that some drivers from Dunstable are picking up jobs in Luton.

He said: “The drivers from Dunstable are invading our patch, they are registered with Central Bedfordshire Council but are asking to transfer their licences to Luton, and our council lets them.

“I had to go through a lengthy knowledge test for the Luton area, I had a CRB and other checks and I had to go through a council MoT which is very strict.

“Luton Council should make these drivers that come from other authorities sit the same tests, but they do not, they just let them transfer over, it is not fair.”

Luton Borough Council has raised concerns at a national level about cross-border hiring but it does not require drivers to complete a knowledge test if they have completed it with a neighbouring authority.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Luton Borough Council has been concerned for some time about the issue of cross-border hiring and licensing of private hire operators, drivers and vehicles, and we have raised this at a national level as we believe it is in the interests of public safety that service providers are required to comply with the conditions deemed appropriate in the area in which they are operating.

“We are also concerned about the increase in drivers and operators that have been licensed in neighbouring authorities to operate out of Luton bases, and so we are actively working with these licence holders to encourage them into the Luton Borough Council licensing regime.

“The conditions we attach to these licences are identical to those imposed on all Luton private hire drivers, and require that the licence holder has the necessary DSB (formerly CRB) check and that they have successfully completed a knowledge test.“

The main element of the test is to ensure an understanding of the Highway Code and road safety, and therefore successful completion of a knowledge test at a neighbouring authority has been deemed to satisfy the requirements for a licence to be issued by Luton Council in these circumstances.”

The Luton driver told the Herald and Post: “We have to know all the routes in Luton, all the schools, pubs, clubs and hotels, I had to study hard to pass that test. The Dunstable knowledge test will be different, so they should have to do the Luton one before they are given a licence. That is the only fair and right way to do it

Read more at: http://www.dunstabletoday.co.uk/

Uber just renewed its feud with London’s regulators

City AM reports that Uber is again turning to its customers to help it fight “bureaucratic” new rules imposed by Transport for London, including an English exam “harder than the test for British citizenship”, renewing its feud with regulators in the capital.

The billion-dollar company said the rules would “threaten the livelihood of thousands of drivers”, reducing their numbers and thus increasing the waiting times for users in an email directly appealing to customers and authored by Uber’s top boss in London, Tom Elvidge.

The new rules were given the greenlight by TfL in March following a long-running and public battle between the two sides and London’s black cab drivers.

At the time, Uber welcomed the result of TfL’s review after it dropped proposals that would enforce users to wait five-minutes after ordering a cab, even if there was a car available instantly.

Now, Uber is urging customers to email the newly elected Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to demand the rules – formulated after a comprehensive consultation conducted by TfL under the former Mayor Boris Johnson – are looked at afresh.

It’s understood that while the broad conclusions of the review are accepted, the finer details and exact form the rules will take, hammered out over the last few months, are more onerous than Uber had been expecting.

Uber has called into question the English language requirement rule – which it claims is harder than the test for British Citizenship and more than the requirements for becoming a Tube driver.

It has also called out a requirement for part-time drivers to have costly full-time commercial insurance even when they’re not driving, as well as the need for Uber to tell TfL of any changes to its app, which it argues would slow down the roll out of new features.

The latter two rules now already apply while the rule on English language tests will come into force from 1 October.

Those who receive the email are asked to click on a link to email the Mayor, leading to an already written reply which even signs a users name at the end automatically.

source: http://www.cityam.com/

 

Comment

Of course, unlike Tube drivers, minicab drivers do have to communicate with passengers, you would naturally assume speaking English in the nation’s capital to a reasonable degree would (and should) be a minimum acceptable standard, especially in an industry where drivers have direct contact with passengers.

The requirement to have full time hire and reward insurance merely brings London in line with the rest of the UK – a licensed vehicle is always a licensed vehicle – this has been the law since the case of Benson v Boyce [HC QBD] 1997.

Woman claims Uber driver called her a ‘slut’ and kicked her out of cab after going the wrong way

Frightened: Frances Carbines said her Uber driver threw her out of his car when she complained her was driving the wrong way

The Evening Standard reports that a young woman claims an Uber driver called her a “slut” and threw her out of his car after she pointed out he appeared to be driving her home in completely the wrong direction.

Frances Carbines, 27, went out for dinner at Dishoom in Shoreditch with friends last night she split from her fiancé, she said.

The British Council worker said she was feeling “fragile” but had gone out with her would-be bridesmaids, who were trying to console her following the break-up.

She said one of her bridesmaids called her an Uber after the meal, at about 11.30pm, and put the postcode for her home address in Crouch End into the app. However, she claims that instead of driving her home, the driver started taking her to the “opposite end” of London.

Miss Carbines claims that when she had told the driver he was going the wrong way he became aggressive, calling her a “slut” and commenting on her short skirt, before telling her to get out of the car on Waterloo Bridge.

An Uber spokesman said the firm was investigating the claims but denied the driver had been abusive towards Miss Carbines. He added that the passenger was taken in the direction of the address that had been entered into the app.

But Miss Carbines told the Standard: “He took the wrong address and tried to take me to Brixton. When I complained he said I must live in Brixton because the system couldn’t be wrong.

“He said ‘get out or something bad will happen to you’ and stopped on a busy dual carriageway. He didn’t even pull over, then he called me a slut.

“I was shaken and crying and the Uber driver made me get out at night miles from home. The Uber driver commented on my short skirt and said I must be easy.”

Miss Carbines, who works in cultural relations for the British Council for projects in Beirut and Pakistan, said she was left feeling “frightened” when she was asked to leave the car.

“I didn’t have cash for a taxi, which is why I got the Uber,” she said.

“I had no idea where I was, it was dark, I had had a beer and I couldn’t even get a bus as I have been overdrawn.

“I was especially fragile because that weekend my fiancé called off our engagement and cancelled our new shared ownership house.”

Miss Carbines said she was eventually picked up by a black cab driver, who agreed to take her to Crouch End.

She said her mother was at home and was able to pay the driver, but he only asked for £20 instead of the usual £30 fare.

She is now appealing for the taxi driver to come forward, so that she can thank him for his kindness.

Miss Carbines described him as a slim Londoner with grey hair, square framed glasses, and a “kindly face”, who had been working as a driver for 20 years.

She said: “I’d want to say thank you so much for saving me essentially when I couldn’t get home.

“Your kindly disposition and act of humanity really cheered me up, please meet me as I owe you £10 and a drink. I wish more drivers could be like you.”

Miss Carbines has also demanded an apology from Uber.

However, the company denied that the incident unfolded as Miss Carbines described.

An Uber spokesman said: “We have called the rider in question so we can investigate these allegations, but have yet to receive a response.

“The driver in question has confirmed he was going to Brixton to an address that was pre-entered into the rider app.

“The driver has told us that the rider became angry that they were going to the entered destination and requested to exit the car. He denies being abusive towards the rider and so we would ask her to get in touch with us so we can investigate further.”

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

Gang who flooded city with heroin and cocaine via TAXI are jailed for 68 years

Waqar Ahmed

The six-man gang’s leaders Dhiren Lad, 34, and Mohammed Taymure Khan, 33, have now been sentenced to 12 years and 13 years 8 months behind bars respectively

The group, from Bolton, also dealt in large amounts cannabis and amphetamine before they were snared by police.

The Manchester Evening News reports that leaders Dhiren Lad, 34, and Mohammed Taymure Khan, 33, have now been sentenced to 12 years and 13 years 8 months behind bars respectively.

Between September 2014 and August 2015 Waqar Ahmed, used his job as a taxi driver as a cover for him to deliver drugs all over the country.

They were delivered to suppliers for sale on the streets of towns across the North West.

Mark Samuels was also involved in the storing and transporting of the drugs whilst Naheem Aslam and Ricky Parmar, both 34, also had leading roles in the organisation of the deals.

In September 2015, all six were arrested after a series of raids by Lancashire Police.

And they were charged a complex investigation which involved hundreds of pages of evidence, including calls and text messages, gathered by officers being analysed by CPS prosecutors.

All six men pleaded to one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and one count of conspiracy to supply class B drugs except Ahmed, who was convicted of both offences after a trial.

Lad, of Stanley Road, Radcliffe, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

Khan, 33, of Hilden Street, Bolton, Aslam, 34, of Crescent Road, Great Lever and Parmar, of Rowton Street, Hall I’ Th’ Wood were all jailed for 13 years and eight months.

Ahmed, of no fixed abode, was jailed for nine years.

Samuels, 42, of of Prestwood Close, Bolton. was sentenced to six years.

Ben Southam, Deputy Head of the CPS North West Complex Casework Unit, said: “This was an extremely complex case because of the sort of evidence that we were looking at.

“There was a huge amount of material to consider, including the analysis of hundreds of calls and texts between the members of the gang as they carried out drugs operations.

“Together with police and prosecuting counsel we built a strong and compelling case that each of these defendants had played a part in the plans to supply drugs in towns and cities in the North West and elsewhere in the country.

“The weight and detail of the evidence against them persuaded most of them to plead guilty.

“Through this prosecution and the sentences we have removed a substantial source of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and amphetamines that were being supplied in local communities.

“We are determined to continue working with our police colleagues to disrupt the operations of drug dealers in the North West and to prosecute them through the courts.”

The CPS will now seek to confiscate the criminal assets of four of the men – Dhiren Lad, Mohammed Khan, Naheem Aslam and Ricky Parmar – under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

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

Should West Suffolk taxi drivers complete course before getting licence?

The West Suffolk councils are asking people to give their views on whether current and future taxi drivers should have a qualification before being given a licence.

The one being considered is a City and Guilds-recognised BTEC level two which would take around 18 hours to complete.

It would cover issues relating to taxis and private hire vehicles such as health and safety, road safety, customer service, vehicle maintenance, disability awareness and assistance, fares, carrying of luggage and transporting of children and vulnerable people.

Drivers applying for a licence would initially be able to complete the course at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, with other locations potentially being introduced later.

The West Suffolk cabinet members responsible for licensing, Cllr Alaric Pugh and Cllr Lance Stanbury, both support the requirement for a qualification.

In a joint statement, they said:

“Other areas across the country already insist on taxi and private hire drivers being able to demonstrate they understand not just laws relating to driving, but other issues which affect the safety and wellbeing of their passengers.

“They are often in a position where they can spot something unusual or potentially illegal happening, such as human trafficking, for example.

“Learning what to look out for and what to do, especially when it comes to keeping passengers safe, seems to us to be a sensible idea and we would like to know what drivers and passengers think.”

The consultation takes less than five minutes to complete and will run until August 31.

It is available online at www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/consultations and printed copies are available by calling 01284 763233 or 01638 719000.

Read more at: http://www.buryfreepress.co.uk

Barrow taxi drivers banned from wearing hoodies or baseball caps

BARROW taxi drivers have been warned they could be sent home if council officers catch them wearing inappropriate clothes while on duty.

Barrow Borough Council’s licensing department is understood to be planning to enforce rules surrounding professional standards of taxi drivers working across Barrow, Dalton, Askam and Walney.

The Evening Mail understands council officers have confirmed they will begin enforcing a no smoking policy in taxis and a dress code while on duty.

TAXI DRIVERS’ DRESS CODE

Barrow Borough Council’s dress code for taxi drivers states: The Authority is committed to encouraging the professional image of the trade and it considers that drivers should conform to a minimum standard of dress, as set out below, in order to raise and maintain the profile of the licensed trade.

Whilst the Authority does not wish to impose such standards by way of conditions to any licence it expects, however, that such standards will be maintained at all times.

Acceptable Standards of Dress within this code:

Tops, shirts, blouses, T-shirts, or sweat tops should cover the shoulders and be capable of being worn inside trousers or shorts. Shirts or blouses can be worn with a tie or open necked. Trousers/Shorts/Skirts Trousers may be either full length or shorts if tailored. Short skirts should not be worn. Smart jean type trousers permitted.

Footwear

Footwear should fit around the heel of feet.

Examples of Unacceptable Standards of Dress within this code:

Bare chests Unclean or damaged clothing or footwear Clothing with offensive words, logos or graphics Sportswear promoting sports teams Clothing with studs or sharp edges Beach type footwear (e.g. Flip flops and mules) Baseball caps, “hoodies”,or “woolly hats” Tracksuits or shellsuits.

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