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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:05 pm 
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Cabbie threatened with knife as abuse of taxi drivers is on the rise

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornw ... xi-2664999

Members of Newquay Taxi Association are demanding action by the police and Cornwall Council as they feel increasingly unsafe just doing their jobs

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Cornwall Councillor and cabbie Mark Formosa (right) with (from left) taxi driver and fellow Cornwall Councillor Kevin Towill, taxi association chairman and director of 123 Taxis Julian Church, and taxi drivers Sharon Wilson and Steve Witchell outside the Newquay offices of 123 Taxis (Image: Mark Formosa/Cornwall Live)

Taxi drivers in Newquay say they are coming under increasing abuse from customers with some being threatened with knives.

Now the cabbies have called for a meeting with police and crime commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez to see what can be done to protect them.

Cornwall councillor Mark Formosa, who is a taxi driver, is arranging the meeting between the PCC and Newquay Taxi Association.

In recent months they say there has been an increase in verbal and physical abuse on taxi drivers in the town.

Cllr Formosa said that last weekend a driver had a customer who threatened to stab him.

He said: "It's a typical incident and it is becoming more and more common. A spike in drug use is also causing this - there are a lot of drugs that are much more readily available in Newquay than before. We have the former legal high Spice and things like crack that we didn't hear about in Newquay previously.

"People who are doing a public service like myself and the other drivers are more likely to come into contact with these people.

"Most customers are lovely, they have been out for the evening to restaurants or nightclubs, they have had a good night and just want to get home in good spirits.

"But then you can have a customer who is difficult or aggressive and these are becoming more and more frequent. We have people who refuse to pay a fare or they become aggressive and threatening.

"We have threats of violence and there are also incidents where drivers and customers have been abused."

Cllr Formosa claimed the police were not taking the incidents seriously and said he hoped the PCC would help ensure there was zero tolerance towards the problems.

"We don't believe the police are taking the incidents seriously enough and the general public in Newquay deserve better. An attack on one is an attack on all.

"A firm message needs to go out there that people who attack others and threaten violence will be met with the full force of the law."

Taxi driver Steve Witchell is also backing the campaign and said the police and Cornwall Council need to provide more support.

He said: "The council has its own zero tolerance initiative for protecting its staff against physical and verbal abuse.

“It makes an interesting read, especially the part that says non-physical assault is the use of inappropriate words or behaviour causing alarm, distress, and/or constituting harassment. Are we not entitled to the same policy?”

Cllr Formosa added: “While the council has power over taxi drivers as licence holders, they have no power whatsoever over our customers. Therefore, the police can be our only port of call when we are faced with unacceptable behaviour from a member of the public.

“When a customer crosses the line, for example threatening violence over the price of a fare, at that point they become a criminal. Then, it is a case of dialling 999. as I always do when faced with such an emergency, or 101 when it is not an emergency in progress.

“Threatening or enacting violence to try to get a discount of, say, £20, when the journey has commenced really is no different to mugging a taxi driver for £20.”


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:47 pm 
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Zero tolerance is an answer.

However all the trade seems to get from the authorities in many many cases, is apathy. :sad: :sad:

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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 8:11 pm 
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Action being taken after Newquay taxi driver knife incident

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornw ... ay-2886416

Newquay's taxi drivers feel increasingly unsafe just doing their jobs

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Cornwall Cllrs Mark Formosa (left) and Kevin Towill (Image: Cornwall Live)

Support is growing for a zero tolerance campaign to stop verbal and physical abuse of Newquay’s taxi drivers.

Drivers in the town say they are coming under increasing abuse from customers with some being threatened with knives.

In March, one Newquay taxi driver had a knife held to his throat by an aggressive passenger.

Cornwall Council licensing chairman Sandra Hayes, who is a former taxi driver, has backed the zero tolerance campaign.

Cornwall’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) Alison Hernandez and Chief Inspector Brett Ireland have also pledged their support to help stamp out the problem.

They met with taxi drivers last week at the Newquay and St Columb Community Network Panel where one of the campaign founders, Cornwall councillor and taxi driver Mark Formosa, was elected as the panel’s new chairman.

Mr Formosa said afterwards: “Things have been getting worse over a long period of time and taxi drivers have been losing confidence in the police after seeing too many offenders get away with their unacceptable behaviour.

“So, I am delighted that the police are now listening seriously to the concerns of taxi drivers not just in Newquay but across Cornwall and have promised us support in the event of future incidents.

“I look forward to working more closely with our police so we can help to get the message across that violence and threats of violence to taxi drivers who are here to serve the public will not be tolerated.”

Fellow taxi driver and Cornwall councillor Kevin Towill added: "I'd very much welcome the positive and constructive stance from the police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez and Brent Ireland.

“There was a real understanding that taxi drivers are in the front line of the night time economy and are often in a very vulnerable position as lone workers."

"Cornwall Council have been very supportive of our campaign for a zero tolerance approach to abuse and harassment of drivers evidenced by the chair of the miscellaneous licensing committee at Cornwall Council which is responsible for regulating and licensing taxis attended the meeting to show her solidarity with the campaign."

"It is however the police who are key to addressing the problem and I feel that this meeting was the first step in a very positive constructive partnership."


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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 8:12 pm 
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Suspect it does help that two current councillors are taxi drivers, and the licensing chair is a former driver :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 8:28 pm 
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Well done to the drivers for getting their act together.

All it needs now is for the police to do likewise and back up the taxi/PH trade when we need it.

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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 8:55 pm 
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Similar sort of comment (on the website) to those left under the Tyneside driver who had his car trashed - because some drivers do bad things all deserve what they get - karma :sad:

Quote:
I do recall that years ago, Newquay Police attempted to organise a “Taxi Watch” system. This would have operated in the same way as the current “Shop/Pub Watch” system i.e. communicating with the CCTV Operator and local Police.

But it never happened because of a lack of interest from the taxi drivers. No point complaining now if they don’t want to help themselves. If they want to continue overcharging vulnerable drunk passengers and transporting people who are involved in either buying or supplying drugs, don’t whinge and moan when things go wrong!!!!


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