London Taxi Trade reacted quickly as the Sunday Times expose, broke. Drivers took to social media and within minutes were protesting outside TfL.
We heard about Rapists, Drugs, Guns, organised crime...all covered up by Uber and TfL. Nothing new to cabbies, but now it's been made public, the story is gathering pace and has been picked up by other media outlets.
We've known for a very long time that TfL were bending over backwards to protect Uber:
• We've seen Uber, illegally licensed.
• We've seen senior TfL Directors Lie to the GLA transport committee, defending Uber's operation.
• We've seen TfL put a private army of compliance officers on the ranks, removing (illegally) any reference to Uber's wrong doings from vehicles.
• We've seen documented evidence that TfL management have been complicit in manipulating and suppressing the PH/Uber Sexual Assaulr and Rape statistics.
• We've seen evidence of TfL refusing to answer FOI requests stating that the answers may be "commercially sensitive".
• We've been informed by police that TfL are holding up sensitive information about the frequency of a Uber road traffic accidents.
• We've been frequently lied to over TFL's cosy relationship with Uber's top management.
• We've seen expose'(s) in the Mail, showing the pressure exerted on Boris by number 10 to "Go easy on Uber.
• We've seen Uber Fake Medicals
• We've seen Uber Fake Topographical Tests
• We've Seen Uber Fake DBS results.
What we haven't seen is our licensing authority, protecting the public and doing the job they are paid to do.
TfL knew about the fake DBS results, but did nothing
The article published in the Sunday Times has now bought the matter to the general public, exposing the unfolding scandal, after emails and FOI requests were obtained by London Assembly Member, Caroline Pidgeon. This has led to a letter from Inspector Neil Billany of the Met Police, to TfLTPH General Manager Hellen Chapman.
Outraged Taxi drivers made their way to Blackfriars last night for a flash demo and formed a partial blockage of road.
The angry drivers made a cacophony of noise, blasting their horns and shouting up at surprised faces, press against the windows inside the Palestra building. Drivers were calling for the resignations of Leon Daniels, Peter Blake and Helen Chapman.
This morning, drivers have been venting their anger on social media, calling for the Airport and London bridges to be blocked.
No more 90 minute and then back to normal demos.
24 hours of disruption on a frequent basis, until corrupt TfL employees are gone.
In the run up to the Mayoral election, Sadiq Khan said "one hit and Uber will be out. I will be the Mayor that runs Uber out of Town"!
Where is Khan this morning?
Unless there are dramatic changes at TfL we will see the mother of all demos hit London's Streets.
Good news as this story is now getting more exposure spreading though the media. The Mail, Telegraph and also the Evening Standard are now carrying the story.
Comment From Artimes Ioannou Mercer (Save Black Taxi Group)
A huge well done to Mark White and the LCDC for getting this story out which has made several national papers and the BBC news.
Finally, what we have known all along, is getting out to the public and mainstream media. Soon there will be nowhere left for Uber and TfL to hide.
Thanks as always to Caroline Pidgeon for her continued support.
EXTRA COMMENT FROM HARRY WALL:
I was going to post my thoughts on the Brighton trip and the Law Commission today but I think only one subject should be on the agenda today.
Right, here we go!!
Everything we've been saying about Uber, moaning about, demonstrating about, protesting about, everything we've been saying about TFL management has now been vindicated thanks to Inspector Neil Billany of the Taxi and Private Hire Policing Team.
It's all there in today's Sunday Times.
An FOI obtained by brilliant people in this trade has highlighted and clear, concise and most concerted effort by Uber to cover up crimes ranging from sexual abuse to firearms offences and TFL knew about it, in fact I'd say TFL were and are complicit in every way.
Specifically, April 17th, Neil Billany wrote to Helen Chapman explaining his concerns re. Uber and various complaints made by the public involving there drivers.
Sexual abuse was no.1 crime and reason for complaint and as we all know it's widespread, and yet in May Uber were awarded a 4 month extension to their license.
Clearly, this set the stage for the email frenzy recently revealed.
Firstly, this is the best news we could've hoped for in a long time and whoever's responsible, deserves the utmost credit for delivering it to the masses.
Now everyone knows.
The thing is, what are we going to do about it?
Most people know my thoughts in respect of direct action along with my annoyance that it doesn't happen but this, surely must light the fire, metaphorically speaking obviously.
What we see here is police acceptance, acknowledgment and a request for action by TFL in light of everything we've been saying but have been ignored.
Helen Chapman would not have acted alone on receipt of this email, she would have had to inform senior managers including Daniels, Blake and Mike Brown given the scale of the emerging crisis. The Mayor must have been briefed along with Val Shawcross so long as they could pin her down for long enough of course.
This scandal goes deeper than the ocean, as I've often said Watergate will pale into insignificance when the whole sorry saga comes out and this surely must be the start.
Why has it taken an FOI for this to see daylight?
Surely senior Met officers were made aware, were they told to keep quite?
If so, who told them?
One question forms another.
Uber's license must be terminated immediately.
WE MUST DEMAND IT NOW!
We must all go to our orgs and demand they merge like never before and form an alliance with which to force the removal of TFL managers responsible for our pain and demand charges be brought for corruption. There must be no stone unturned and no man or woman allowed to escape retribution through the courts. No mercy, none has been shown to us or our families and none has been shown to Uber's victims. That being the case only one possible course of action can be taken, we must act now.
TFL have lied and manipulated their way through our lives ever since Livingston set in motion the plan to destroy everything we've worked for but now its backfired to the point where the public have now become victim also and that stain is indelible. The genies out of the bottle and however desperate the rats are, that genie won't go back in so now it's a damage limitation exercise that's simply failing miserably and every stinking one of them has been laid bare by their failures.
Helen Chapman was told about sexual abuse and contrived to cover it up with Siwan Hayward no doubt on orders from further up the chain.
She was also caught going to the States to meet Uber but swore blind it for a conference.
Mason went to meek Kalenik.
Daniels emailed Bertram regular discussing how to circumvent laws, regulations and us when he wasn't lying to the GLA.
Emerson lied regularly as par for the course, the list goes on and all the time this was happening Hendy was shagging his brass and wearing dodgy kimonos.
A blatant untouchable attitude.
With everything that's been uncovered recently we mustn't allow this to be swept under the carpet, we can't afford to let this go, it's too important. I consider it our duty to seize the moment aswell as the mood and strike as hard a blow for our trade as possible, not only for ourselves and our families but also for the potential victims unwittingly lining themselves up for future abuse that TFL seemingly sanction.
The disparity between regulation and Tfl is so stark it's impossible to consider the two are the same and this latest revelations is testament to an argument for the self governance regulation I've been calling for.
TFL simply can't be trusted and this is proof.
I'm expecting a huge reaction from all this orgs over this and not just words. It needs to be nationwide, ruthless and lengthy if need be.
This is it, our next move is crucial.
That's all for now, looking forward to next week.
Full Article By Andrew Gilligan, August 13 2017, 12:01am, The Sunday Times
Uber has been accused by police of failing to report sex attacks and other “serious crimes” committed by its drivers, and of obstructing officers trying to investigate them.
The company, which operates in more than 20 British cities and 633 worldwide, faces a licence review in London, its biggest European market.
In a letter obtained by The Sunday Times, Inspector Neil Billany, head of the Metropolitan police’s taxi and private hire unit, said he had “significant concern” that Uber seemed to be “deciding what [crimes] to report”, telling police only about “less serious matters” that would be “less damaging to [its] reputation”.
Billany accused Uber of “allowing situations to develop that clearly affect the safety and security of the public” by keeping from police crimes committed by drivers — including at least six sexual assaults on passengers, two public order offences and an assault.
In at least one of the sex cases, Uber continued to employ the driver, who went on to commit a more serious sex attack against a second woman passenger.
Billany said: “Had Uber notified police after the first offence, it would be right to assume the second would have been prevented.”
The victims complained to Uber and were left “strongly under the impression” it would tell police, but it did not do so, he added.
In the year to February 2017, Scotland Yard recorded 48 allegations of sexual assault involving Uber drivers, mostly reported by passengers but some made via the regulator, Transport for London (TfL).
Billany said Uber’s failure to report the public order cases meant the Met learnt too late to prosecute.
The letter — dated April 17 and sent to Helen Chapman, head of taxis and private hire at TfL — was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the chairwoman of the London Assembly’s transport committee, Caroline Pidgeon.
She said she was “deeply concerned”, adding: “This apparent cover-up of reports about such serious criminal activity is shameful.”
TfL said the failure was “totally unacceptable” and formed “part of the consideration” about whether it would extend Uber’s licence. It was renewed in May, but only until September 30, amid concerns about Uber’s operations. Billany’s letter may have played a part.
Billany said one incident was a road rage incident classified as a firearms offence. The Uber driver took “what the passenger believed to be a handgun from the glovebox and left the vehicle to pursue the other party on foot”, Billany said. The “gun” turned out to be “pepper spray . . . legally classified as a firearm”, whose possession “clearly appears to be a criminal offence”.
When police asked for the passenger’s name, Uber “refused to provide any further information” without a formal request under the Data Protection Act. Uber said the “pepper spray” was a legal can of criminal identifier spray. It did help police when asked and said the refusal was a misunderstanding. It reported all incidents to TfL, it added.
“We were surprised by this letter as in no way does it reflect the good working relationship we have with the police,” it said. “We advise people to report serious incidents to the police and support any subsequent investigations, but respect the rights of individuals to decide whether or not to make such reports.”
THE LETTER IN FULL
From Inspector Neil Billany of the Metropolitan police to Helen Chapman, Transport for London’s head of taxis and private hire
Concerns with Uber not reporting Serious Crimes to Police
On the 4 March 2017 Uber have had contact from a passenger informing them of a serious incident involving an Uber (and TfL Licensed PHV) driver. The nature of the allegation was that during a booked journey a road rage incident has developed between the driver and another road user. During this incident the driver has taken what the passenger believed to be a handgun from the glovebox and left the vehicle to pursue the other party on foot. At this point the passenger has fled the vehicle in fear.
On becoming aware of this incident Uber have spoken to the driver and ascertained that it was in fact pepper spray he had taken from the glovebox and not a handgun. Pepper spray is legally classified as a firearm and every weapon carried on the street represents a threat to public safety.
At this point Uber have dismissed the driver and made LTPH Licensing aware. On becoming aware of this on the 10 April 2017 the MPS have opened an investigation into what clearly appears to be a criminal offence.
Further contact has taken place between the MPS and Uber in an attempt to identify the passenger (a significant witness) and also to find out why Uber haven’t reported this directly to police. Uber have stated to the MPS that they are not obliged to report this, or similar matters, and are only required to notify TfL as per regulations. Uber have refused to provide any further information unless a formal request under the Data Protection Act is submitted.
Another more worrying case took place last year. The facts are that on the 30 January 2016 a female was sexually assaulted by an Uber driver. From what we can ascertain Uber have spoken to the driver who denied the offence. Uber have continued to employ the driver and have done nothing more. While Uber did not say they would contact the police the victim believed that they would inform the police on her behalf.
On the 10 May 2016 the same driver has committed a second more serious sexual assault against a different passenger. Again Uber haven’t said to this victim they would contact the police, but she was, to use her words, “strongly under the impression” that they would.
On the 13 May 2016 Uber have finally acted and dismissed the driver, notifying LTPH Licensing who have passed the information to the MPS.
The second offence of the two was more serious in its nature. Had Uber notified police after the first offence it would be right to assume that the second would have been prevented. It is also worth noting that once Uber supplied police with the victim’s details both have welcomed us contacting them and have fully assisted with the prosecutions. Both cases were charged as sexual assaults and are at court next week for hearing [sic].
“Uber hold a position not to report crime on the basis that it may breach the rights of the passenger. When asked what the position would be in the hypothetical case of a driver who commits a serious sexual ssault against a passenger they confirmed that they would dismiss the driver and report to TfL, but not inform the police. While the process for sharing information between LTPH Licensing and the MPS works this clearly represents a further risk as it is reliant on more links in a chain.
In 2016 the MPS were made aware of 6 sexual assaults, 2 public order offences and 1 assault which were first reported to Uber and then subsequently to LTPH Licensing. The delay in the offence occurring and a report coming to the attention of police ranged from a matter of weeks to 7 months. The two public order offences mentioned above are subject to a 6 month prosecution time limit so subsequently both were taken no further as by the time we became aware of the offence we had no power to proceed, despite both having clear evidence of an offence taking place.
The significant concern I am raising is that Uber have been made aware of criminal activity and yet haven’t informed the police. Uber are however proactive in reporting lower level document frauds to both the MPS and LTPH. My concern is twofold, firstly it seems they are deciding what to report (less serious matters/less damaging to reputation over serious offences) and secondly by not reporting to police promptly they are allowing situations to develop that clearly affect the safety and security of the public.