Increase in Assaults Against Taxi Drivers
Over the past three years it has been reported that hundreds of taxi drivers have been assaulted according to a study of violence against frontline workers.
Every week it has been reported that almost 200 attacks against cabbies, bus drivers, paramedics and tube drivers are carried out in London alone. A total of 29,679 frontline workers in the capital have been assaulted, with incidents ranging from scratching to spitting to being physically threatened. Nationally 69,570 frontline workers have been assaulted in the past three years and 65 taxi drivers have been murdered in the last twenty years. 3,069 taxi drivers have been attacked in the past three years, although they do not specify whether drivers were working or off duty at the time.
Assaults on Taxi Drivers
Several ways to prevent assaults have been proposed, including a wearable GPS ‘panic button’ and body worn cameras that act as a visual deterrent, would monitor the employee and would raise a call for help should the worker get into any difficulty. Video evidence of an offence would also mean that trials would be shortened if the offence was taken to court. It is thought that these measures may even save bodies such as Transport for London and the London Ambulance Service money in the long run as it currently costs £2.2 million per year dealing with the direct and indirect effects related to the acts of violence towards their staff, the London Ambulance Service spend around £125,000. The report added that protection should be prioritised for mobile staff or those work alone such as train station workers or taxi drivers.
Although the benefits of wearable GPS ‘panic buttons’ and body worn cameras are clear, the London Ambulance Service has argued that it could undermine the relationship of trust between its staff and the public. The London Ambulance Service has said that they will review their stance in the future if they feel it necessary.
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Photo by Aurelijus Valeiša.