Police crackdown on bogus taxi drivers in Hull
TRAFFIC officers are to stop and question taxi drivers in Hull tonight as part of a crackdown on bogus drivers.
It comes after a woman was sexually assaulted in the back of a cab.
The 24-year-old victim was attacked after calling for a taxi to pick her up from the King George Dock ferry terminal around tea-time on a Friday afternoon.
Now, Humberside Police is planning a major initiative to stop taxis in the city to check they are licensed as the festive party season gets under way.
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Casualty reduction officer PC Keith Ward said cars will also be checked to ensure they are road-worthy during the five-hour operation, tying in with late-night shopping.
He said: "We want to reassure the public that we're doing all we can to keep bogus taxis off the road.
"Every year, we organise four or five clampdown sessions around the Christmas and new year period and check hundreds of taxis to make sure the right badges are displayed and the vehicles are safe for passengers.
"We want people to know we aren't letting people drive around in unlicensed taxis, we are doing something about it.
"We will also be checking things like tyres, first aid kits and fire extinguishers.
"Officers do have the power to suspend the taxis until the problem is resolved and they report back to taxi licensing."
PC Ward said there will be two traffic officers stopping taxis from 6.30pm with further divisional support.
He said: "With it being late-night shopping, there will be plenty of cabs about and officers should have a field day. Unless someone gets into a hackney carriage vehicle, they should book a private hire taxi.
"From the front it could be any car and people should be checking for a company logo and plate on the back of the vehicle. If they are unsure, or they ask to see the driver's ID and they hesitate, they should get out immediately."
PC Ward also warned if people get into a unlicensed taxi it could be uninsured.
He said: "In the event of a collision they would not be able to make a claim."
Councillor John Hewitt, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and communities for Hull City Council, said they are working closely with the police to check licences and taxi drivers.
He said: "We want to ensure they are legitimate and protect the public against bogus taxi drivers that should not be operating and are posing a risk."
A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said investigations into the sexual assault are ongoing and CCTV footage is being looked at.
Anyone with information should call police on 101.