Taxi association make formal allegations of fraud to police following minicab licence investigation

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) has written to the Commissioner of Police making formal allegations of fraud against college examiners and Private Hire (PH) drivers.

The LTDA has also contacted the Deputy Mayor for Transport asking for all testing to be brought in-house at Transport for London (TfL).

The letters follow the BBC investigation into hundreds of minicab drivers who could be working fraudulently after purchasing the required qualifications to become a private hire driver.

Researchers on the show were seen to buy qualifications at one east London college, which included BTecs, for fees of £500.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said in his editorial in the Taxi Magazine: “It is high time that TfL recognised there is a hardcore element of cowboys and swindlers within the PH trade with a cavalier attitude to safety, operators as well as drivers, and bring in ever more stringent checks and protocols to stop the scams and keep Londoners safe.

“The program showed clear evidence of mass fraud, not just by the staff at the college that sold the certificates but by the minicab drivers who paid the money to get the ‘qualification’ without actually doing anything other than turning up.”

He added: “This is a serious matter for the police to investigate and I have written to the Commissioner asking that she appoint an investigating officer as a matter of urgency.”

In the letter dated 7 November and addressed to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, McNamara said: “I would ask that you treat this letter as a formal allegation of fraud against the examiners at the college featured in the broadcast and all the PH drivers who paid to obtain a certificate and then subsequently used it to fraudulently obtain a licence.”

In a separate letter sent to Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, the following day, the LTDA’s General Secretary said: “The decision by TfL to suspend the acceptance of BTEC’s as part of the exemption process was a good one, but given all of the above and in the interests of public safety and confidence in the licensing process the suspension should be made permanent.

“To restore confidence and to prevent any more instances of this kind occurring again in the future any, and all, testing of any kind relating to Taxi and Private Hire licensing should only be carried out by TfL staff, at premises approved by TfL.”

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