A taxi company in Belfast has fired one of its drivers after a video emerged on social media showing him brandishing a suspected firearm during a ride.
The video captures the driver, who works for FonaCab, pointing the suspected weapon at a male passenger seated beside him.
At one point in the recording, the driver hits the passenger in the face with the object.
Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident, which was captured on a dashboard camera in the taxi.
In a statement made by fonaCAB it said: “We were made aware of dashcam footage of an incident involving a fonaCAB driver around 23.30 on 31st May 2023. The driver was identified and called this morning to present at the earliest opportunity / ASAP to fonaCAB Head Office, at which time he was interviewed and his relationship with fonaCAB immediately terminated.
“fonaCAB has been liaising with the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) Northern Ireland and the P.S.N.I, and any further action will be determined by them. Our investigation was completed and our action taken before the footage was released on social media. Due to the nature of the content of the footage, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment on the footage while other investigations are undertaken.
“This was not a passenger booking, the driver was logged off and was not working for fonaCAB at the time of the incident. We will however state that any action which affects the safety of our passengers, staff and drivers is never acceptable and should any infringement occur will be dealt with immediately by fonaCAB and referred to the appropriate authorities.
“Drivers at fonaCAB complete the same training and vetting as all taxi drivers in Northern Ireland and in addition we expect them to maintain the high standards that we hold ourselves to. We average 100,000 bookings per week, and we do everything we can to ensure that each of those customers is given the same high level of professional service.
“We do not tolerate incidents like this where safety is compromised, standards are not upheld, or the company and our drivers are called into disrepute.”
UPDATE: Police Service Northern Ireland released a brief statement via social media this morning saying: “Detectives investigating a video circulating online showing a man with a suspected firearm have arrested a 48-year-old man.
“He has been arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including possession of a
firearm or imitation firearm and he remains in custody at this time.
“Enquiries are ongoing and detectives appeal to anyone with any information”