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TFL LOST PROPERTY: Taxi drivers express concerns over Met Police refusal to accept lost property

The General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA) has raised concerns about the Metropolitan Police's refusal to accept lost property from taxi drivers.

Steve McNamara highlighted the inconvenience caused by the closure of Transport for London's (TfL) Lost Property Office and the subsequent relocation to an office in West Ham.

The closure of TfL's Lost Property Office on Pelham Street has resulted in taxi drivers being advised to take lost items to the nearest London police station. However, McNamara stated that many drivers have encountered difficulties as the police often refuse to accept the lost property. This refusal contradicts the legal obligation for taxi drivers to hand over lost items.

With the new lost property office located far away from central London, taxi drivers are likely to rely more on police stations to return lost belongings. McNamara highlighted the inconvenience this poses, particularly for drivers who operate on the other side of the city. These drivers face hours navigating through London traffic to drop off lost property in West Ham, resulting in what could be four-hour round trips.

McNamara said in TAXI Newspaper: “I have written to the Commissioner of the Met Police, Sir Mark Rowley setting out our concerns about the Police refusing to take lost property from cabbies, who are frequently turned away when they try to do the right thing and as they are legally obliged to do.

“As most of you will know by now, Tfl's Lost Property Office on Pelham Street is now closed, with a new office located all the way out in West Ham. In the period between the Pelham Street office closing and the new office opening, TfL were advising drivers to take lost property to the nearest London police station, but too often we hear that the police refuse to accept it, and this is wrong.

“With the new lost property office located so far out of central

London, it's likely drivers will need to make use of police stations more often, as it will be far more convenient. A driver working out at the airport and living in somewhere like Slough, would probably have to drive for a good two hours in London traffic to drop something off at the new office in West Ham - making a four hour round trip!

“The office is also only open for six hours a day, on weekdays only, so it's not exactly convenient and what are night drivers expected to do? Most drivers will go out of their way to reunite a passenger with their property if they can, returning to where they dropped them or going back to a hotel or restaurant to try to get put in contact, but that doesn't always work out. The burden shouldn't be completely on drivers, forcing them to go miles out of their way and take time out to drop lost property in the outer reaches, as we all know, time means money.

“At the LTDA, we already spend a lot of time dealing with frantic enquires from members of the public desperately trying to retrieve their lost belongings. We are constantly being asked to tweet about missing phones, lost laptops and forgotten bags.

“As cabbies will know, it's surprising just how often people jump out without thinking, leaving their belongings, only to realise as they watch the cab drive off into the sunset. We've seen it all. Most recently, the tragic case of a man, who left an urn containing his son's ashes in a bag, in the back of a cab, which sparked a police and media appeal to find the bag.

“If you ask me, it's clear we need a better system to deal with lost property and using police stations has to be part of this.”


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