POLICE and cabbies are to link together over the Christmas period across Rotherham and the Dearne, in a bid to reduce night crime.
As people go out to celebrate with friends over Christmas and New Year, they drink more than usual and there is a higher risk of assaults or anti-social behaviour aimed at taxi drivers.
The partnership approach hopes to clamp down on such behaviour and reduce the risk to drivers. Individuals who are abusive or aggressive can expect action to be taken against them.
Chief Inspector Richard Butterworth said: “The police will not tolerate criminal offences or antisocial behaviour against hackney carriage taxi and private hire drivers and will work hard to bring the full weight of the law against those who wish to cause problems for those going about their business.
It is always a minority who cause problems as the vast majority of people respect the service that is offered and are grateful to be able to call a hackney carraige taxi or private hire after a night out in the town.
I’m looking forward to working closely with drivers’ representatives to ensure that they enjoy a safe working environment.”
Taxi drivers welcomed the bonding scheme that they hope will serve to protect them from the sort of encounters they have suffered from in the past. Sajid Bostan, Vice Chairman of the Rotherham Private Hire Drivers Association said: “We take people home after a great time, but there is a minority of people who subject drivers to abuse or even assaults and damage taxis.
“Hackney carriage taxi and private hire firms are keen to work with the police to ensure drivers are safe during the festive period and beyond.
“We want everyone to have a good time and the drivers provide a valuable service to the town and Rotherham area.”
People who intend to use taxis over the festive period are urged to take note of the following important facts and guidelines, to help keep themselves safe and on the right side of the law throughout the Christmas and New Year period:
Don’t drink and drive - always use public transport or a hackney carriage taxi or private hire if you have had alcohol
Even if you think you are under the legal limit for drinking - get a lift instead of being locked up. Don’t lose your license.
Police will not tolerate any kind of abuse or assaults on taxi drivers, damage to their vehicles or the non-payment of fares
Police will be supporting taxi drivers and private hire throughout the Christmas period and beyond
Do not land yourself in police custody due to criminal actions against taxi drivers. Drivers will be encouraged to testify against wrong-doers.