Letchworth taxis tested in police-approved project to safeguard women and girls in groundbreaking North Herts College study

By Layth Yousif

14th Mar 2023 | Local News

Taxis tested in drive to safeguard women and girls. CREDIT: NHC/NHPolice
Taxis tested in drive to safeguard women and girls. CREDIT: NHC/NHPolice

Taxis tested in drive to safeguard women and girls 

Letchworth taxis tested in drive to safeguard women and girls in groundbreaking North Herts College study

As part of the ongoing work by North Herts police to help safeguard women and girls, an operation has taken place to test the working practices of taxi drivers in Letchworth. 

On Friday 10 March, four female students from North Herts College took part in a test purchasing operation to see if taxi drivers would accept lone female passengers requesting destinations which were within the minimum fare distance.  

The operation was to look at whether drivers were following their license conditions and professional codes of conduct by taking young woman, short and un-profitable distances during the evening/night-time. If they refused the fare, in preference for a longer more profitable journey, the woman would be left to walk home alone or waiting at the rank. 

In total the students tested eight separate taxis, all of whom accepted the fare and adhered to the terms of their license. 

"This was a very successful operation, and I am delighted with the outcome," said Letchworth Neighbourhood Sergeant Lisa Perks. "It is good to see our local taxi drivers are well aware of their operating guidelines and are willing to put the welfare of passengers before profit. 

"The girls were second year students studying 'Uniformed and Public Services' at North Herts College. Their participation in the operation will go towards their course work, but we are very grateful for their assistance and that of the college. I would also like to thank our licensing colleagues at North Herts Council for their help with this operation. 

"This operation is part of our ongoing strategy to protect women and girls from violence, test compliance around basic child protection procedures, and raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE). In November 2022 we implemented a test purchase operation in hotels in Stevenage and North Herts around CSE, which identified good practice as well as some training needs in certain locations. We are planning more preventative safeguarding operations in the future." 

Taxis tested in drive to safeguard women and girls. CREDIT: NHC/NHPolice

Taxi drivers and operator's responsibilities include, but are not limited to: 

You must not refuse a journey without a legitimate reason. 

Refusals due to the journey being too short or not wanting to accept a card payment are not acceptable. 

If you are at the front of a rank and you refuse a journey you must return to the back of the rank. 

If you are not able to accept credit card payments you need to make alternative arrangements for payment to be made. 

It is not acceptable to refuse a journey because it is a card payment. 

It is against the law to refuse to carry an assistance dog or a person travelling in a wheelchair. 

All drivers have a safeguarding responsibility to protect the public 

Do not leave vulnerable persons or persons asking for help stranded at a rank. 

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