TAXI drivers in Hampshire have been urged to be vigilant after two drivers were allegedly attacked within 48 hours of each other.
In the first incident a driver was reported to have been knocked unconscious in a late-night attack, while two days later a man was allegedly stabbed outside Southampton Central Railway Station.
Now, the head of the Southampton Hackney Association wants more focus on the safety of drivers in the city.
Chairman Ian Hall argued that not enough attention is paid to the difficulties taxi drivers face.
He has worked in the trade for 33 years and vividly remembers when a taxi driver in Southampton was murdered in 1986.
He said: “What concerns me, which I think concerns a lot of drivers, is that in the last 22 years there have been 65 drivers murdered in this country. It’s a particularly dangerous job at night.
“The majority of customers are absolutely fine and we do a good job at getting people home safely.
“It’s all sorts of different people we are picking up and anyone that’s getting into the car could be going through a marriage break-up or having a hard time at work, but that doesn’t give them the right to hit people.
“It can be a bit of a volatile job but this is a good city to live and work in.
“Drivers need to be a bit careful but they are anyway.”
In relation to the incident near the railway station, Nicholas Jeffrey, 27, of no fixed address, appeared in court facing charges of wounding with intent and possessing a knife in a public place.
Police investigating the Swaythling incident confirmed that they had identified a man they wanted to speak after a taxi driver was found unconscious by a colleague.
The 28-year-old victim was assaulted and left unconscious at the junction of Mansbridge Road and Howard Close.
He was found by a fellow taxi driver and taken to Southampton General Hospital, but was not seriously injured.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101.