We work closely with the Metropolitan Police Service and City of London Police to prevent taxi and private hire-related sexual offences in London, bring offenders to justice and push for the toughest penalties possible.
The safety of passengers using taxis and private hire vehicles, commonly known as minicabs, is our top priority. Passengers should expect to be safe – and feel safe – when travelling by taxi or private hire and no one should ever be subject to sexual behaviour by a driver.
Our Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan sets out a range of measures to enhance public safety, including putting more compliance officers on the streets to help keep passengers safe.
Both unbooked and unlicensed minicab drivers pose the greatest risk to passengers. The vast majority of reported rapes and serious sexual offences are carried out by unbooked and unlicensed minicab drivers. These people are pretending to be licensed drivers, and in many cases cannot be traced, making it harder to charge them.
Measures we take to ensure safety
With more than 100,000 licensed private hire drivers and more than 24,000 licensed taxi drivers in London, millions of taxi and private hire journeys are made every year. The vast majority pass without incident. However, we are working with our partners in the police to crackdown on the minority who look to offend. We always push for the toughest penalties possible.
- police and TfL enforcement activity
- expansion of our Taxi and Private Hire Compliance Team which will have quadrupled in size by summer 2017
- targeted plain clothes and high visibility operations
- police investigations
- enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on all drivers when they apply for a new or renewal licence
- Safer Travel at Night communications campaign
Recorded crime figures
The official figures below are based on police data and verified against TfL’s Taxi and Private Hire Licensing database.
The figures in Table 1 (below) show the annual number of sexual offences recorded annually by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and City of London Police (CoLP) since 2002. The figures relate to reports of sexual offences committed by a licensed or bogus driver against a fare-paying passenger. The figures include both licensed taxi or private drivers and those bogus drivers posing as taxi or private hire drivers.
The figures are broken down into rape and other sexual offences. The large majority of ‘other sexual offences’ are sexual assaults, which can include offences such as:
- intentional sexual touching of another person without their consent
- a driver attempting to kiss or grope a passenger
- a driver grabbing a passenger’s hand to kiss it
Please note, not all of the offences reported in Table 1 will have resulted in a driver being charged or summonsed to court. This could be for various reasons, including the driver not being traced and identified, insufficient evidence to charge a suspect, the Crown Prosecution Service deciding it is not in the public interest to prosecute, or the victim’s reluctance to proceed with a prosecution.
Offences resulting in a charge or summons are outlined in Tables 2 and 3.
Breakdown of drivers charged by licence status and journey type
We have worked with the MPS and CoLP to provide information about the licence status and journey type for all drivers who have been charged with, or summonsed to court for, a TPH journey-related sexual offence recorded in 2014 or 2015.
A driver will be charged when the MPS or CoLP has determined that there is sufficient evidence for the case to go before the Court, and the Crown Prosecution Service has agreed to charge the suspect with a sexual offence. This is shown in Tables 2 and 3.
Information about the location, approach, time of offence and any details about the suspect/s involved is used by the MPS, CoLP and TfL for intelligence-led enforcement and investigation.
Unlicensed and unbooked PHV drivers pose the greatest danger to the travelling public, and are the alleged offender in the majority of rape offences. 13 out of the 14 drivers charged with rape in 2014 and 2015 were unlicensed or unbooked PHV drivers.
Many reports of offences (Table 1) are unbooked and the drivers can’t be traced. The police are more likely to be able to trace and take action against a driver when they are licensed and the journey is booked through a licensed operator. For this reason licensed drivers may appear over-represented in Tables 2 and 3.
Drivers charged and summonsed in 2014/15
Tables 2 and 3 detail drivers charged with, or summonsed to court for, a TPH-related sexual offence committed in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The figures in the tables above are correct as of October 2016 and may be subject to change. TPH journey-related sexual offences data will be updated and published annually.
Action against offenders
Where the suspect is a TfL licensed taxi or private hire driver, and we are notified by the police of an allegation, we immediately assess whether there is a risk to public safety. We may immediately suspend the driver’s licence prior to charge or conviction, if we believe the individual is not ‘fit and proper’ based on the initial evidence.
The driver will remain suspended until we receive the results of the police investigation and any court outcomes. In some cases, we may cancel a driver’s licence immediately, irrespective of the results of the police investigation and subsequent court proceedings.
In 2014 and 2015 48 licensed drivers were charged or summonsed for TPH journey-related sexual offences. Of these:
- 15 were convicted and no longer hold an active taxi or private hire licence
- Seven have had their licences suspended while we await court outcomes
- 26 were not convicted. Of these, seven drivers currently hold active licences. However, they were suspended during the police investigation and court proceedings. The remaining 19 drivers no longer hold an active licence
Check before you get in
With many unlicensed vehicles on the road, it is important that you book your minicab in advance with an operator, and confirm that it is the right one before getting in. We have now made it a requirement that all private hire operators provide you with details of the licensed private hire driver and licensed private hire vehicle that has been booked for you. Please check before you get in.
Report an incident
If you experience any unwanted sexual behaviour in a taxi or private hire vehicle, we strongly encourage you to report it to TfL or to the police by dialling 101. You will always be believed and you will always be taken seriously.
If you feel in immediate danger phone 999.
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