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PASSENGERS WARNED: Council uses taxi CCTV to convict passenger of racially aggravated assault

Updated: Oct 23, 2022

A council has warned passengers to behave when travelling in taxis, after in-vehicle CCTV played a key role in securing a conviction for a racially aggravated assault against a Craven taxi driver earlier this year.

Mr Saeed Pervez, a 62-year-old taxi driver who has been working as cabbie in Craven for 32 years, was the victim of an early morning assault. The defendant, Thomas Stoney, appeared before Skipton Magistrates' Court and admitted racially aggravated common assault, criminal damage and possession of cocaine.

He was given a 12-month community order with 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days. He was also given a 121-day alcohol abstention monitoring programme, involving him being fitted monitoring equipment. Stoney was also ordered to pay £900 compensation to Mr Pervez and pay costs of £85 and a surcharge of £114.

Craven District Council is now reminding passengers that their conduct while travelling in taxis is being recorded and will be used as evidence against them if they commit crimes.

Craven became the first area in North Yorkshire to mandate CCTV cameras in taxis on 1 January 2022.

Speaking after the case, Mr Pervez said: “The vast majority of our fares are honest, decent people, but there tends to be a small minority who spoil it. CCTV was installed in my taxi in February this year and at the time I must admit it was a huge financial expense, but I am now relieved I did because footage helped police not only charge the defendant, but I received costs for the damage caused. It’s an excellent initiative as it makes life safer for both drivers and passengers. Plus, the behaviour of some of the passengers is a lot better if you warn them that ‘you’re on camera’.”

Chair of the Licensing Committee for Craven District Council, Cllr Chris Moorby, said: “Everyone has the right to go about their day without the fear or intimidation and we do not tolerate any form of physical or verbal abuse towards drivers or customers. Video footage, like CCTV, continues to provide vital evidence to the police and serves as a powerful deterrent to those who intend on abusing taxi drivers.”

Cllr Moorby’s views were echoed by the Council’s Licensing Manager, Mr Tim Chadwick, who said: “Craven District Council recognises the need to be proactive in reducing crime, improving health and safety and drivers' well-being. The safety of the public and of drivers is our primary concern. Violence and aggression towards taxi drivers is never acceptable and will not be tolerated.”


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