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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:07 pm 
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Devon's taxi drivers reveal the terrifying abuse and assaults they have to endure

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-ne ... ng-3161644

“It was a drop point knife and he was swinging it with the blade edge towards me"

The terrifying abuse endured by taxi drivers on a regular basis, including knife attacks, has been laid bare by the cabbies themselves.

Following recent reported incidents of abuse and assaults on local taxi drivers, regardless of gender, East Devon District Council and the local taxi and licensing association have launched a No Excuse for Abuse awareness campaign.

Taxi drivers in Exmouth have been experiencing higher levels of abuse at night times and the message being highlighted to the public is any abuse of taxi traders, whether verbal or physical, will not be tolerated and that all incidents will be reported to the police.

Ex-doorman and dad-of-one Ryan Morris had to use his self-defence training to avoid being stabbed three months ago by a late night reveller. He was attacked after coming to the aid of a man he found collapsed in the road in Exmouth after dropping off his previous passengers.

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Left to right, Mr AJ Hill (taxi driver), East Devon District Councillor Paul Jarvis, George Shorters (taxi driver) and Charlie Stone (taxi driver) (Image: East Devon District Council/Devon Live)

The 36-year-old recalled: “It was 2am and luckily enough the man was under a street light which was the only reason I saw him lying on the left side of the road. Another gentleman in his mid-20s was on the phone wandering up and down. They were not customers; I was just being a good citizen.

“I pulled the taxi up to the guy on floor and as I did so the other man, who was on my right, hit the back of car with his hand. I opened my door to say, ‘what’s going on, I’m pulling over to help?’, but he marched towards me with his left hand raised above his shoulder and had a knife in his hand.

“It was a drop point knife and he was swinging it with the blade edge towards me. I was nervous but I’m lucky that as I’m ex-doorman I have trained for these events. Had I not been he would have stabbed me.

“I grabbed hold of his wrists and pushed the hand with the knife down underneath his arm to and control it. It lasted a good five minutes.

“Eventually I took the knife off him and somebody must have rung the police as a few minutes later they turned up.

“It emerged the chap in the road had been hit by a car and was the other gentleman’s cousin. I don’t know why he came at me. I was shocked by it and am annoyed by the outcome because although it went to court I was not happy because he was sentenced to six months on tag and a community order.”

Ryan says that although it is the first weapon incident he has endured while working as a taxi driver for the past nine years, he has encountered many other occasions where passengers have either threatened him or have attacked fellow passengers in his taxi.

He said: “In the years I have been in this job I have had six major incidents, but you always get tiny spates, or you get people home and they have no money and give you a lot of abuse.

“You have to keep your wits about you as each customer is different. A recent Saturday night I had two family members fighting in the back of the taxi. I drive an eight-seater and they were full on fighting. I had to intervene otherwise one of them would have been completely battered and I would have been waiting with a corpse in the car.

“People are unpredictable and not just because of drink but drugs. Exmouth does have quite a big drugs and drink problem. It’s all ages, and men and women are as bad as each other.

“I’m glad the new campaign has been launched because it’s definitely needed, but not just Exmouth but in every area.”

Despite all the troubles Ryan has endured trying to do his job, he said he loves being a taxi driver because the good times outweigh the bad.

He said: “I love driving and being out and about and seeing different people. It’s a good job and is lovely most of the time. You meet people from different cultures and I can guarantee you always get asked, ‘have you had a busy day?’ It’s an ice breaker question.”

Incidents aren’t just confined to male taxi drivers but female taxi drivers too, but even 48-year-old Louise Hodge was shocked she found herself being attacked by a young couple she was driving home on May 11 at 10.30pm.

Louise, who works for Galaxy Taxis and has been a taxi driver on and off for eight years, found herself with an arm around her neck because she was not able to accept a credit card for payment. It is believed the couple were under the influence of drugs.

The couple were cautioned by the police following the incident and wrote Louise a letter of apology.

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George Shorters, chairman of Exmouth Taxi Drivers Association (Image: George Shorters/Devon Live)

The incident prompted George Shorters, chairman of the Exmouth Taxi Drivers Association to take action to protect his fellow workers. The No Excuse for Abuse campaign is being supported by East Devon District Council.

He said: “When I took over as chairman, a week later Louise was assaulted so a special meeting was called. EDDC were very much on our side and wanted to start the campaign because it’s not the first incident by any stretch of the imagination.

“We have No Excuse for Abuse stickers in taxis to highlight it."

George became a taxi driver after taking early retirement and has been working for AJ’s Taxis in Exmouth for the past 15 years.

He said: “I’m a fairly big bloke so I don’t take much nonsense. You get people doing runners, and being downright rude. Most tax drivers suck it up and don’t tell anyone.

“I think it’s a question of alcohol in and brain out. In the old days it only used to be men but as women drink more it’s more like 50/50 these days.

“The majority of passengers though are grateful and respectful.”


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 5:33 am
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Quote:
“It was a drop point knife and he was swinging it with the blade edge towards me. I was nervous but I’m lucky that as I’m ex-doorman I have trained for these events. Had I not been he would have stabbed me.

“I grabbed hold of his wrists and pushed the hand with the knife down underneath his arm to and control it. It lasted a good five minutes.

“Eventually I took the knife off him and somebody must have rung the police as a few minutes later they turned up."

I'm doing that kind of thing all the time 8-[ :---)

Quote:
Louise, who works for Galaxy Taxis and has been a taxi driver on and off for eight years, found herself with an arm around her neck because she was not able to accept a credit card for payment. It is believed the couple were under the influence of drugs.

That reminds me, I'll have to get that card reader sorted out 8-[ [-o<


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:47 am 
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Location: 1066 Country
Quote:
Taxi drivers in Exmouth have been experiencing higher levels of abuse at night times and the message being highlighted to the public is any abuse of taxi traders, whether verbal or physical, will not be tolerated and that all incidents will be reported to the police.

I think part of our trades problem is we don't report many of the attacks against us, so I wish the drivers well and hope they have a degree of success that many of us don't.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:49 am 
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Location: 1066 Country
Quote:
“It emerged the chap in the road had been hit by a car and was the other gentleman’s cousin. I don’t know why he came at me. I was shocked by it and am annoyed by the outcome because although it went to court I was not happy because he was sentenced to six months on tag and a community order.”

I don't blame him for not being happy.

I shall comment no further on that. :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:51 am 
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Location: 1066 Country
Quote:
Louise, who works for Galaxy Taxis and has been a taxi driver on and off for eight years, found herself with an arm around her neck because she was not able to accept a credit card for payment. It is believed the couple were under the influence of drugs.

The couple were cautioned by the police following the incident and wrote Louise a letter of apology.

May I refer you to my previous post. :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad: :sad:

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