addressing the problem   Dorothy Gunnett   Gian Bajar   Mohammed Arshad

The Scale of Taxi Violence

Violence against taxi and private hire drivers is a serious problem. According to Private Hire and Taxi Monthly, 51 taxi drivers have been murdered over the past 17 years. The Department for Transport states that on average, 3 drivers per year are unlawfully killed. Many drivers believe the violence is escalating. 2007 saw 13 murders, 60 serious assaults, and over 1,000 other assaults. Most incidents go unreported.

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Taxis and private hire vehicles represent a 3 billion industry, employing 340,000 people. In 2003, passengers made 650 million trips in taxis. Drivers perform a valuable and commonly-used service. Unfortunately, in the course of their work they become victims of abuse, ranging from verbal and racist remarks to murder. Much of this is fuelled by passenger alcohol misuse; illegal drugs are also a contributing factor.

Department for Transport Research

In October of 2008 the Department for Transport completed the report, "Research on the personal security issues for taxi and PHV drivers." It released the report's Executive Summary, stating that "significant under-reporting of incidents is commonplace." Many drivers feel that the police don't take the incidents seriously. Contributing to the problem, police don't distinguish between assaults on taxi drivers and all other assaults; incidents are "not easily linked to the employment profile of the victim." This has led to a lack of data and a corresponding lack of recognition that a problem exists.

While one-third of drivers are from ethnic minorities, two-thirds of murdered drivers are members of minority communities. The report found that ethnic minorities are subject to higher levels of abuse, much of it racist in nature, and that these incidents are seldom reported.

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