Statistics from from the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London have shown a 20% increase in the number of sexual offences taken place in a taxi and private hire vehicle.
164 offences took place in a private hire vehicle as opposed to not one charges brought upon a black cab driver in London in the same time period.
Transport for London went on to say:
The safety of passengers using taxis and private hire vehicles, commonly known as minicabs, is TfL's top priority. Passengers should expect to be safe - and feel safe - when travelling by taxi or private hire and no one should ever be subject to sexual behaviour by a driver. The Mayor's Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan sets out a range of measures to enhance public safety, including putting more compliance officers on the streets to help keep passengers safe. You will find data and information about sexual offences committed by taxi and private hire drivers against fare paying passengers reported to the Metropolitan and City of London Police in 2016.
Measures TfL take to ensure safety With more than 100,000 licensed private hire drivers and more than 24,000 licensed taxi drivers in London, millions of taxi and private hire journeys are made every year. The vast majority pass without incident. However, TfL are working with our partners in the police to crackdown on the minority who look to offend. TfL always push for the toughest penalties possible.
Police and TfL enforcement activity
Quadrupling the number of Taxi and Private Hire Compliance officers providing regular checks of licensed operators, drivers and vehicles and identifying illegal activity
targeted plain clothes operations to detect offenders
High visibility operations to deter offenders
Police and TfL investigations of all allegations, whether reported directly, through social media, customer complaints, operators or via a third-party
TfL licensing action against licensed drivers where appropriate
Dedicated TfL Taxi and Private Hire customer complaints channel, to encourage reporting of inappropriate driver conduct so appropriate action can be taken by TfL and/or the police
Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on all drivers and applicants when they apply for or renew a licence
Safer Travel at Night communications campaign
Lobbing Government for tighter controls on cross border hiring as well as additional enforcement powers
Recorded crime figures
The official figures below are based on police recorded crime data and verified against TfL's Taxi and Private Hire Licensing database. The figures in Table 1 show the annual number of sexual offences recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and City of London Police (CoLP) since 2002. The MPS and CoLP are responsible for investigating crimes that have been committed in London. In line with Home Office crime counting rules, the figures relate to crime recorded by the police during that year, regardless of when the offence took place. Offences that are committed outside of London by London licensed drivers are investigated by the local police force for that area. These offences are not included in the figures below. TfL takes licensing action when notified of a sexual offence by a London licensed driver, regardless of which police force notifies the regulator. The figures relate to sexual offences (rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault) committed by a licensed or bogus driver against a fare-paying passenger that have taken place in London. The figures include both licensed taxi or private drivers and those bogus drivers posing as taxi or private hire drivers. The figures are broken down into rape and 'other sexual offences' (these are MPS sub-categories for sexual offences). The vast majority of 'other sexual offences' are sexual assaults, which can include offences such as:
- intentional sexual touching of another person without their consent - a driver attempting to kiss or grope a passenger
- a driver grabbing a passenger's hand to kiss it
Please note, not all of the offences reported in Table 1 will have resulted in a driver being charged. This could be for various reasons, including the driver not being traced and identified, insufficient evidence to charge a suspect, the Crown Prosecution Service deciding it is not in the public interest to prosecute, or the victim's reluctance to proceed with a prosecution. Offences that were recorded by the police in 2016 that resulted in a charge are outlined in Table 2. Recorded crime figures for Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences 2002-2016
Breakdown of drivers charged by licence status and journey type
TfL have worked with the MPS and CoLP to provide information about the licence status and journey type for all drivers who have been charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence, recorded in the 2016 calendar year. A driver will be charged when the MPS or CoLP has determined that there is sufficient evidence for the case to go before the Court, and the Crown Prosecution Service decides that there is a reasonable chance of a conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge the suspect with a sexual offence. The total number of drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey related sexual offence that was recorded in 2016 is shown in the table below. Information about the location, time of offence and any details about the suspect/s involved is used by the MPS, CoLP and TfL for intelligence-led enforcement and investigation. Some reports of offences (Table 1) are unbooked and the drivers can't be traced. The police are more likely to be able to trace and take action against a driver when they are licensed and the journey is booked through a licensed operator as there will be a record of the journey and the driver. Drivers charged
Table 2 details drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence recorded by the police in 2016. There were 31 individual drivers charged for 34 offences. Two drivers were charged with more than one offence. Table 2: 2016 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged These figures relate to crimes recorded by the police in 2016.
These figures were correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change. Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences data will be updated and published annually.
Action against offenders
Where the suspect is a TfL licensed taxi or private hire driver, and TfL are notified by the police of an allegation, we immediately assess whether there is a risk to public safety. The regulator may immediately suspend the driver's licence prior to charge or conviction, if TfL believe that is required in the interests of public safety. The driver will remain suspended until TfL receive the results of the police investigation and any court outcomes. In some cases, TfL may revoke a driver's licence immediately, irrespective of the results of the police investigation and subsequent court proceedings. Of the 31 drivers charged for the 34 offences, 28 of the drivers were licensed private hire drivers at the time of the offence (including booked and unbooked journeys) and 3 were unlicensed 'minicab' drivers. No taxi drivers were charged with a journey-related offence recorded in 2016. Of the 28 licensed private hire drivers:
14 were convicted and no longer hold an active taxi or private hire licence
5 have had their licences suspended while we await court outcomes
9 were found not guilty. None of these drivers currently hold active licences
Private hire operators The information in this section relates to offences where the journey was booked through a private hire operator. Of the 34 Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged, 26 offences were from booked journeys, booked through 13 different private hire operators, with 25 drivers charged. Twelve drivers have so far been convicted with one driver convicted of 2 offences (13 offences in total). Eight drivers were found not guilty at court. Five drivers are awaiting trial. The private hire operators which have had one or more of their drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire-journey related sexual offence are listed in the table.
None of the drivers who were charged with an offence currently hold an active private hire driver's licence.