In the wake of the sexual assault scandal surrounding Westminster, we look at some of the reasons as to why reaction to these assaults have differed considerably compared to the reaction toward those assaulted in PHVs in London.
Firstly it needs to be recognised that Westminster have taken the correct course of action in dealing with this issue now that it has come to the fore. Investigations are taking place, resignations have occured and this has now been widely publicised. This therefore begs the question as to why the taxi industry was seemingly ignored when trying to highlight the same issues surrounding PHVs, and in particular Uber.
From the taxi industry's perspective, the elephant in the room will always be John Worboys, who has been tried, convicted and sentenced for rape, as has David Perry and Eddie Chapman who were also taxi drivers in London. Any given critic of the taxi industry will always mention at least one of these names when countering allegations of the same nature against the PHV industry or Uber, its the proverbial open goal. What seems to be omitted when these individuals are mentioned is the fact that they are the only 3 people convicted of this type of crime within the London taxi industry in over 40 years. To put this further into perspective, there have been more sexual assault convictions within the PHV industry in a 6 month period than there have been within the taxi industry in the same 40 year period.
We have seen a great wailing and gnashing of teeth in relation to the Westminster scandal by those who tread the corridors of power, but grim apathy from many of those same people in Westminster when confronted with PHV and Uber sexual assault figures, why is this?
Could it be that Westminster is more concerned about the free market than those who use the services within that market? Are Westminster on the back-foot and scared to confront the issues surrounding the PHV industry and the unacceptable level of sexual assaults because it was the government themselves that have indirectly contributed to this situation under David Camerons stewardship and his relationship to Uber? Is it a case of seeing those that suffer sexual assaults in the PHV industry as collatoral damage in the governments quest to drag the country kicking and screaming into a new industrial revolution, therefore those within the tech industry operating in the Private hire sphere can do no wrong? Or is it a case of Westminster not really caring about these victims until the same allegations landed on their own doorstep?
These are basic, fundamental questions that need answering. Sexual assault at any level is wrong, whether it be an unwanted hand on the knee or a despicable rape, it shouldn't matter which walk of life you come from or which circles you function in. Sexual assault is a non-discriminatory crime, a victim in Westminster is no different to a victim in a pub, club, workplace or private hire vehicle, social standing does not make a person any less of a victim, and yet now that Westminster has had this land on its lap it has suddenly developed a conscience.
Those within Westminster must now wake up and accept the fact that it needs to act swiftly and decisively on any industry that has a problem with this type of crime. Power and money should never supersede public safety.