In the wake of the attacks on taxi drivers in the Lisson Grove area and due to the increasingly violent nature of those attacks, TaxiPoint recently e-mailed Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
TaxiPoint has received two responses from both the Commissioners office as well as Westminster Borough Command, however there has been a controversial twist as Cressida Dick claimed on BBC London news that she was unaware of incidents pertaining to the Lisson grove area.
An initial response came from the staff officer to the commissioner, who said:
"The Commissioner is determined to bear down on all forms of serious violence and protect those who live and work in London – particularly those who provide such vital support to Londoner’s as taxi drivers do."
The e-mail was then passed to the Westminster Borough Commander and to the Roads and Transport Policing Command.
Finbar King, the inspector responsible for all aspects of neighbourhood policing across the City of Westminster, excluding the four wards making up the West End said:
"Having reviewed the crimes recorded, the number of offences of this nature reported over the summer were relatively low, 2 in June, 2 in July, 4 in August and 0 in September, however there has been a recent increase with 10 similar reports having been made in October, and one theft from motor vehicle reported thus far in November."
He then added:
"The majority of these reports have not involved violence and are recorded as thefts, 3 offences have been recorded as robberies where the victims were punched, these all occurred in October. 9 offences happened in a 9 day period at the start of October.
Having reviewed the offences, some of these crimes were not reported to police at the time of the offence but have been reported 1-2 days later and have limited investigative opportunities through which to identify the suspects adding to the difficulty in prosecuting the offenders."
Inspector King went on further to say:
"Recent offences have been reported immediately, RTPC colleagues have been pro-actively getting this message to drivers. It may be that other offences go completely unreported too. Reference has been made to a linked series of offences in the Kensington area, I am aware of one robbery offence in October with a link to the Paddington / Marleybone area, where a taxi driver was robbed by passengers who had been picked up in the SW7 area asking to be taken to Little Venice, the driver was subsequently robbed on Regent Street by the passengers."
Inspector King then went on to describe the methods typically used by the attackers, which involve driver distraction and then theft as well as the more elaborate ruse of requesting the use of a wheelchair ramp so as to get the driver out of the front seat. Basic guidance on crime prevention was then given, this included, keeping front doors locked, staying inside the front of the vehicle, remaining cautious when transporting young men around thevLisson Grove area, keeping valuables out of sight and if falling victim of crime, alqays reporting the incident as soon as possible.
Inspector King finally added that Lisson Grove is currently subject to enhanced patrol activity, both overt and covert and as a result one offence has been reported thus far in November, and two offences in total being reported since the 09/10.