Updated: Dec 31, 2019
Figures released by West Midlands Police have revealed a shocking number of assaults on taxi and/or private hire drivers over the last two years.
A Freedom of Information request showed the number of assaults on taxi drivers in the West Midlands Police area from the start of January to the end of November 2019 was at 427.
Twelve months prior, from the start of January 2018 to the end of November 2018, assaults on taxi drivers was almost identical at 417.
With 35 assaults on average a month, there are now increased calls for more protection for taxi drivers.
Some of the assaults on West Midlands taxi drivers
Refusal of payment
In 2018 Stephen Small was arrested and found guilty of attacking a 44-year-old taxi driver.
The driver picked up Small, 22, and another man in Stourbridge town centre, and drove them to a nearby petrol station.
They asked to be taken to Small ’s address on Hallchurch Road, Dudley, but on arrival they refused to pay the full fare.
Small then launched an attack on the 44-year-old taxi driver, stole his PDA device, took money from his pocket, and even tried to set the taxi on fire.
A passer-by witnessed the assault and called police.
An investigation was launched, and CCTV identified Small as the prime suspect. He was subsequently arrested and charged with robbery.
In October 2018 four teenagers were arrested following a spate of robberies on taxi drivers in the Midlands area.
West Midlands Police looked into five robberies and three attempted robberies on cabbies in a 48 hour time period in the Dudley and Sandwell area.
Police confirmed that drivers were attacked and had cash taken during the robberies.
A male, aged 15, was arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery. Three further teens, a male aged 17, and two females aged 16 and 17, were all arrested on suspicion of robbery.
In January 2019, West Midlands Police appealed for help following a cab robbery in West Bromwich on Thursday 22nd November 2018.
Police said shortly before 3am a Toyota Prius working as a taxi was parked up when a black car pulled in front of it and three men got out.
One man opened the passenger door of the taxi and punched the driver in the head before demanding his keys.
The driver got out of the car when the offenders demanded more money from him, before they fled in the stolen taxi.
In March 2019, a taxi driver in Birmingham was stabbed multiple times in a horrific robbery after refusing to hand over his cash to two passengers.
The attack took place on Sunday March 31, when two men took a journey in the taxi to Kings Norton.
The pair of attackers demanded money from the driver, but he refused and instead got out of his taxi.
They then followed him out of the vehicle and repeatedly stabbed him before stealing the taxi.
The victim was rushed to hospital by ambulance and treated for multiple stab wounds which were not thought to be life-threatening.
Following the attack, a spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We were called to reports of an assault on Gildas Avenue at 7.18pm on Sunday night, one ambulance, a paramedic officer and a MERIT trauma doctor attended the scene.
"On arrival, ambulance crews discovered one patient, a man, who had suffered multiple injuries in the incident.
"He received treatment at the scene before being transported to hospital on blue lights and sirens for further assessment.”
The police later tracked down the taxi which had been left abandoned.
CCTV is one way of deterring an attack, with the threat of video evidence.
David Pawlaszel-Lawrie from Safe Systems CCTV Ltd, said: "With the number of attacks and allegations on the increase, as seen in several press releases, and the number of drivers having lost their licenses, we simply MUST have some form of defence.
"This saves you a fortune on legal fees in the event of being subject to a false allegation.
"It will also protect you from loss of earnings, damage to life and reputation, and could also reduce your insurance premiums to offset the cost.
"CCTV is everywhere, on all forms of public transport, in all premises including council buildings, so why should taxi and private hire drivers be any different?
"It’s time to get the respect back in the trade, it’s about time to turn the tables on this once and for all."