Campaigners fear relaxing taxi rules will put people at risk of assault or robbery

Campaigners opposed to the Taxi Deregulation Bill.

Campaigners opposed to the Taxi Deregulation Bill.

First published in News
Last updated
Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Political reporter

CAMPAIGNERS are fighting plans to relax rules governing who is allowed to drive private hire vehicles in Hampshire.

Charities, cabbies, students and police in Southampton say relaxing the rules on who can drive private hire vehicles could put people at risk of sexual assault or robbery.

As previously reported, the changes under the Deregulation Bill, which are currently going through the House of Lords, would allow family members and friends of licensed drivers to drive marked private hire vehicles.

The Government says the plans, which would scrap current rules only allowing licensed drivers to drive the vehicles, would free many families from the need to run a second car and save money.

But Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes has already opposed the plans alongside 18 of his colleagues from across the country.

And now a new campaign is being launched in Southampton to convince Liberal Democrat transport minister Baroness Kramer – who has responsibility for steering the new Bill through the House of Lords – to scrap the plans.

Safeguards Hampshire Constabulary’s community safety and licensing inspector Justin Roberts said: “The existing legislation puts safeguards in place around those transporting members of the public. If these are reduced or removed under the Bill in its current form we do run the risk of seeing increases in cases of sexual assault and robbery.”

Tara Doel, from Southampton Rape Crisis, added: “It will no longer be possible to know whether a person driving a cab is licensed to do so or simply driving someone else’s vehicle, making people reluctant to use cabs as a trusted form of transport and potentially increasing the risk of sexual violence.”

Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen, Rowenna Davis, has coordinated the campaign. She said: “With two universities and an active night-time economy, we are particularly worried about women travelling alone late at night.”

And some cabbies in Southampton are also backing the campaign.

Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton North Caroline Nokes, pictured left, was on the Deregulation Bill Committee which considered the plans earlier this year.

She said the law change would bring the rest of the country into line with London, and that if a driver was caught without a registered private hire licence while transporting a passenger, the driver must show they were not using the private hire for use as a hire vehicle.

She added: “That added safeguard should meet the concerns expressed about safety and enforcement.”

Comments (4)

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2:08pm Mon 28 Jul 14

WalkingOnAWire says...

The current laws help to protect everyone who uses a cab - you know when you get in that only the licensed driver should be driving it. The proposed changes are based on nothing more than ideology and the Government have publicly said that they are the first step towards the total deregulation of taxis.

The Police don't normally get involved to condemn legislation but they are 100% clear that these rule changes will lead to more attacks and robberies by unauthorised people driving marked taxis - as has already been seen in London.

This issue is about safety, especially for women, and cuts completely across party boundaries. I would urge everone to lobby their MP and Baroness Kramer to get this dangerous law change scrapped.
The current laws help to protect everyone who uses a cab - you know when you get in that only the licensed driver should be driving it. The proposed changes are based on nothing more than ideology and the Government have publicly said that they are the first step towards the total deregulation of taxis. The Police don't normally get involved to condemn legislation but they are 100% clear that these rule changes will lead to more attacks and robberies by unauthorised people driving marked taxis - as has already been seen in London. This issue is about safety, especially for women, and cuts completely across party boundaries. I would urge everone to lobby their MP and Baroness Kramer to get this dangerous law change scrapped. WalkingOnAWire
  • Score: 6

4:12pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Tiz says...

The law currently requires drivers of licensed private hire vehicles to wear an identification badge "in a plainly and distinctly visible manner". If people were to check that the driver of the vehicle that they intend to travel in is wearing a badge, there would be less instances of unlicensed drivers carrying out various forms of assault. People need to start taking more responsiblity for their own actions rather than relying on the state to nanny them.
No badge - don't get in
The law currently requires drivers of licensed private hire vehicles to wear an identification badge "in a plainly and distinctly visible manner". If people were to check that the driver of the vehicle that they intend to travel in is wearing a badge, there would be less instances of unlicensed drivers carrying out various forms of assault. People need to start taking more responsiblity for their own actions rather than relying on the state to nanny them. No badge - don't get in Tiz
  • Score: -6

4:58pm Mon 28 Jul 14

WalkingOnAWire says...

Tiz wrote:
The law currently requires drivers of licensed private hire vehicles to wear an identification badge "in a plainly and distinctly visible manner". If people were to check that the driver of the vehicle that they intend to travel in is wearing a badge, there would be less instances of unlicensed drivers carrying out various forms of assault. People need to start taking more responsiblity for their own actions rather than relying on the state to nanny them.
No badge - don't get in
That's easy to say and hard to do. The current rules have worked perfectly well and are simple common sense. Under the new proposal any sexual predator using a taxi to prey on women is hardly going to be deterred by the fact that they're supposed to be wearing a badge.
[quote][p][bold]Tiz[/bold] wrote: The law currently requires drivers of licensed private hire vehicles to wear an identification badge "in a plainly and distinctly visible manner". If people were to check that the driver of the vehicle that they intend to travel in is wearing a badge, there would be less instances of unlicensed drivers carrying out various forms of assault. People need to start taking more responsiblity for their own actions rather than relying on the state to nanny them. No badge - don't get in[/p][/quote]That's easy to say and hard to do. The current rules have worked perfectly well and are simple common sense. Under the new proposal any sexual predator using a taxi to prey on women is hardly going to be deterred by the fact that they're supposed to be wearing a badge. WalkingOnAWire
  • Score: 7

10:02pm Mon 28 Jul 14

Ginger_cyclist says...

WalkingOnAWire wrote:
Tiz wrote:
The law currently requires drivers of licensed private hire vehicles to wear an identification badge "in a plainly and distinctly visible manner". If people were to check that the driver of the vehicle that they intend to travel in is wearing a badge, there would be less instances of unlicensed drivers carrying out various forms of assault. People need to start taking more responsiblity for their own actions rather than relying on the state to nanny them.
No badge - don't get in
That's easy to say and hard to do. The current rules have worked perfectly well and are simple common sense. Under the new proposal any sexual predator using a taxi to prey on women is hardly going to be deterred by the fact that they're supposed to be wearing a badge.
Just look at Mexico's capital, when you go there, you're safer walking or hiring a car than getting a taxi or even a bus.
[quote][p][bold]WalkingOnAWire[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tiz[/bold] wrote: The law currently requires drivers of licensed private hire vehicles to wear an identification badge "in a plainly and distinctly visible manner". If people were to check that the driver of the vehicle that they intend to travel in is wearing a badge, there would be less instances of unlicensed drivers carrying out various forms of assault. People need to start taking more responsiblity for their own actions rather than relying on the state to nanny them. No badge - don't get in[/p][/quote]That's easy to say and hard to do. The current rules have worked perfectly well and are simple common sense. Under the new proposal any sexual predator using a taxi to prey on women is hardly going to be deterred by the fact that they're supposed to be wearing a badge.[/p][/quote]Just look at Mexico's capital, when you go there, you're safer walking or hiring a car than getting a taxi or even a bus. Ginger_cyclist
  • Score: 0

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