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PAYMENT RUNNERS: Can taxi drivers arrest passengers for bilking?



Taxi drivers in the UK have been questioning whether they have the power to arrest passengers who refuse to pay their fares. While the answer is yes, it is not advised by the Metropolitan Police.


Bilking is the term for making off without paying the fare. According to the Fraud Act 2006, a passenger who runs away from a taxi with no intention of paying is guilty of an offence. As such, any person can arrest someone for bilking, including taxi drivers.

However, a spokesperson for the Met Police said that cab drivers are strongly advised to call the police to report instances of bilking instead of carrying out an arrest themselves. Wrongful arrest can lead to civil claims, and it is better for all involved parties to let the police handle the situation.


The spokesperson advised taxi drivers to get a good description of the suspects, stay in their cab, and await police attendance. This approach is safer for the drivers and more likely to result in the arrest of the passengers.

While it is important for taxi drivers to protect themselves from passengers who refuse to pay their fares, it is also vital that they follow the proper procedures and protect themselves from any legal repercussions that may arise from making an arrest.


A Met Police spokesperson said in a Freedom of Information request: “Bilking is the term for making off without paying the fare. Anyone running away from a taxi with no intention of paying is guilty of an offence. (Fraud Act 2006 s11).


“Any person can arrest someone for bilking, however cab drivers are strongly advised to call the police, as wrongful arrest can lead to civil claims.


“Advise drivers to get a good description of suspects, stay in their cab and (if appropriate) await police attendance.”



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