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Monday, September 01, 2014

Nisson NV200: Is this the first fatality involving the "Taxi Of Tomorrow" ?


NEW YORK (WABC) -- One person was killed, and another was injured when a taxi crashed on the Upper East Side.

"It looked like she was OK," said Justin Havlik, a Good Samaritan.

When he woke up Friday morning, Justin Havlik couldn't have imagined he'd find himself shoulder to shoulder with strangers, trying to save a woman's life.

"We just did what we had to do," another Good Samaritan said.

The onlookers jumped into action just after 2 Friday afternoon, after a 58-year-old woman started to cross 79th Street at Madison. 

"Like a thud and then you heard screaming," said Paige Morrow, a witness.

The taxi plowed right into her, pinning her underneath.

"They couldn't actually pull her out," Havlik said.

"I got ahold of her hand; there wasn't much we could do until we got the car off her," the other Good Samaritan said.

"I grabbed the bottom of the car and I screamed and I lifted the car," Havlik said.

"What are you going to run the other way? Lady's under the cab?" the other Good Samaritan said.

"And then I rested the car on my knee, like braced on my thigh holding it," Havlik said.

The Good Samaritans lifted the taxi and rested it on its side, but the woman underneath was in very bad shape.

"She was moving her mouth, but I don't know," the other Good Samaritan said.

"She had a lot of head trauma, a lot of head trauma," Havlik said.

Paramedics rushed her to Lenox Hill Hospital, but it was too late.

As they worked to piece together the accident, police questioned the cab driver for hours.

Eyewitnesses say it looked like he was in shock.

So was Havlik when he found out that the woman didn't make it.

"I was praying to God that she was going to be OK," Havlik said.

The taxi driver, who is licensed, was not hurt. His passenger, a 32-year-old woman, was treated for pain at the scene but was not seriously hurt. 

No charges have been filed.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Driving A Taxi At Night, One Of The Most Dangerous Jobs In The Country. 65 Murders In 22 Years.

Taxi bosses are calling for more to be done to keep drivers safe after two were attacked within 48 hours

TAXI drivers in Hampshire have been urged to be vigilant after two drivers were allegedly attacked within 48 hours of each other

In the first incident a driver was reported to have been knocked unconscious in a late-night attack, while two days later a man was allegedly stabbed outside Southampton Central Railway Station.

Now, the head of the Southampton Hackney Association wants more focus on the safety of drivers in the city.

Chairman Ian Hall argued that not enough attention is paid to the difficulties taxi drivers face.

He has worked in the trade for 33 years and vividly remembers when a taxi driver in Southampton was murdered in 1986.

He said: “What concerns me, which I think concerns a lot of drivers, is that in the last 22 years there have been 65 drivers murdered in this country. It’s a particularly dangerous job at night.

“The majority of customers are absolutely fine and we do a good job at getting people home safely.

“It’s all sorts of different people we are picking up and anyone that’s getting into the car could be going through a marriage break-up or having a hard time at work, but that doesn’t give them the right to hit people.

“It can be a bit of a volatile job but this is a good city to live and work in.

“Drivers need to be a bit careful but they are anyway.”

In relation to the incident near the railway station, Nicholas Jeffrey, 27, of no fixed address, appeared in court facing charges of wounding with intent and possessing a knife in a public place.

Police investigating the Swaythling incident confirmed that they had identified a man they wanted to speak after a taxi driver was found unconscious by a colleague.

The 28-year-old victim was assaulted and left unconscious at the junction of Mansbridge Road and Howard Close.

He was found by a fellow taxi driver and taken to Southampton General Hospital, but was not seriously injured.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101.

    Source: Southern Daily Echo.

Rememberance Sunday...10 Weeks To Go... By Mike Hughes

Here is the early warning for Remembrance Sunday which takes place on 9 November.

Those who have already attended in the past know the feelings that you get from this very special event and I need say nothing more to you.

For those who have not been before, we provide a free taxi service from all main line stations, Victory Service Club, Union Jack Club and Victoria Coach Station for the veterans going to and from the service and parade at the Cenotaph. To see the appreciation shown by the veterans for our expression of gratitude for all they have done for us is so deeply moving. Words, no mater how eloquent, cannot express what you feel - ask anyone who's already done it in the past 4 years.

This is one time when all thoughts of animosity, personal differences, heated discussions of preference of vehicle, or any of the other threads that can cause differences  on this forum are all put aside. Nothing detracts from helping the veterans. People who are otherwise at loggerheads on the forum stand shoulder to shoulder united in a common cause. It is so special. If only we could bottle it!

I'll put more details out over the next 10 weeks but at this stage I am looking for early volunteers to build up my database (used by me alone).

In addition to drivers I'm also looking for people to act as marshals in all the stations. The usual marshals always do a superb job, but, as we discovered last year, as our service has expanded we needed extra help getting to the veterans and getting them into the Poppy Cabs. Knowledge boys/girls, Family members (especially useful inside the stations to show veterans where to go), retired or non working taxi drivers - all are welcome and needed to help our stretched band of experienced marshals.

To register please send
Location (to match up with veterans)
Driver or Marshal
TX or Vito (drivers)
Knowledge boy/girl or family member (marshals) 
tel no:
email address

email messages to:
SMS message : 07973 430022
New for 2014 our own Twitter account @PoppyCabs2014

As I go through the various preparation stages I will update you all here with an absolute minimum of one message each week as our countdown continues. Please look out for them and see how you can help.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Taxi licensing scandal leads to investigation by Milton Keynes Council.

MILTON Keynes Council is tightening up its licensing procedures for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles in the borough, after a taxi driver convicted of rape and other serious sexual offences was given a new licence.

The council's chief executive Carole Mills said: “On August 12, Mike Hainge, our newly appointed service director with responsibility for public realm - which includes taxi licensing - launched a review into taxi licensing arrangements.

“Meanwhile, Peter Marland - leader of the council - received a letter from a member of the public raising specific concerns about taxi licensing in relation to a particular driver. This was promptly passed on to relevant officers on August 20.

“Enquiries were immediately made into the circumstances raised in the letter, and it was established that we had a licensed taxi driver with convictions for rape and other serious sexual offences. 

Milton Keynes Councillor Gladstone McKenzie says he made 'serious error of judgement' in taxi licensing scandal
"Therefore, officers revoked the taxi licence of the driver in question on Friday, August 22, and an investigation started to establish the circumstances in which this individual was granted a licence.

“This investigation has identified the following:

The driver in question applied for a taxi licence in February 2010. An enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure dated November 2010 showed that he had four convictions for serious sexual assault, including rape. The applicant was therefore interviewed by officers.

The application was scheduled to be considered by the regulatory sub committee held on January 26 2011, but was adjourned to a later date to allow the applicant to organise and submit additional evidence in support of his application.

The committee reconvened on April 11 2011, and had before it information that made clear the nature of the offences. 

This included a report and interview transcript.In its deliberations, the committee took into account a very strong character reference given by a serving councillor, who described himself as a friend, and vouched as to the driver’s good current character and family circumstances.

Surprisingly, given the nature of the offences, a licence was granted and, following receipt of the necessary paperwork and payments, the licence was issued in September 2011.

In January 2012, we were contacted regarding the driver in question, and were provided with further detail about the nature of the offences. In summary, this driver had been convicted of four serious sexual offences, which happened over three separate occasions, with an accomplice, and he had received a substantial custodial sentence.

As a result of receiving this information, the driver in question was required to attend an interview with officers, who suspended his licence with effect from April 24 2012.

A regulatory sub committee was held on May 21 2012 to review the suspension. 

The Committee had before it the papers from the original meeting, the enhanced CRB details provided by Thames Valley Police and the transcript of the latest officer interview with the driver. Inexplicably, the committee lifted the suspension and the driver was able to continue to operate as a private hire driver.
The driver in question was also licensed as a hackney carriage driver from March 25 2014.

On August 22 2014, officers conducting the review I mentioned earlier revoked both of his licences.
Meanwhile, the wider review instigated by the council has identified a number of less serious, albeit concerning issues relating to other taxi drivers.
Of course, this situation is very concerning indeed, so the council has taken the following action:

This week, a review of taxi drivers with declared convictions has been undertaken. This review has identified a further seven individuals who give us cause for concern from the 1,300 individuals who have taxi licences in Milton Keynes. Of them, one has surrendered his licence and plates and we have invited the remaining six drivers to come in for interview. We will take action dependent on the outcome of those interviews.

A detailed review of all Milton Keynes taxi licence holders is underway and will be completed as soon as possible. If this review identifies any drivers with undeclared information of concern, their licences will be suspended pending formal hearing.
For all new applications, we have strengthened our oversight and approval processes to ensure sound decision making.

We have produced a new draft Taxi Licensing Policy, which will be considered by Cabinet at the earliest opportunity. All councillors serving on the Regulatory Sub-Committee and relevant officers will undergo a full training programme on that policy.

In the case of drivers contracted by the council to transport children, additional checks are applied. Drivers with convictions have an interview with a specially trained senior manager and only if we are satisfied with the information gained at that interview is that driver allowed to work on the council’s contracts.

What has happened in the past is simply not acceptable. And that’s why, on this coming to light, the Council has taken rapid steps to ensure the safety of our citizens travelling by taxi or private hire vehicle. The process we have put in place for all future licence applications will not allow this situation to happen again.

It’s important to remember that the vast majority of hackney carriage and private hire drivers in Milton Keynes are decent, law-abiding and hardworking people. Our taxi drivers are an important part of our local economy and provide a vital service to our community. I’m hoping that drivers will work with us to secure public confidence in the days and weeks ahead.”

However, if anyone has concerns about any criminal activity that they want to report, they should ring Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101."

Peter Marland, leader Milton Keynes Council, said:

"As leader of the council since May 2014, with officers, I took immediate action to revoke the licence of the driver in question and thank officers for their diligence in undertaking a detailed wider assessment of the situation. Officers are working hard to bring the final phase of this taxi licencing review to a swift conclusion to ensure that the people of Milton Keynes can be confident when getting into a Milton Keynes taxi.

It’s the first duty of any council to strive to keep citizens safe and, in this situation; it is highly regrettable that such significant errors have been made.

It is clear that members of the regulatory sub committee exercised very poor judgement in granting a licence to the driver in question, given the nature of the offences. I can confirm that Cllr McKenzie, who was part of the second Committee meeting referred to earlier, has tendered his resignation as vice chair and member of the regulatory committee with immediate effect.

I’m pleased to confirm that we have cross-party support in relation to the action we have taken and how this will work in future. We are committed to being honest and open."

Cllr Edith Bald, leader of the Conservative Group said: “I was shocked to learn what had happened and immediately called for this driver’s taxi license to be revoked. Passengers’ safety should be the primary consideration in all taxi licensing decisions. 

"The action current officers have taken is right and proportionate and I am very supportive of both the prompt revocation of the license of the driver in question and the wider review. 

"I am confident that officers are working to swiftly bring the review to a conclusion.

"Given the serious nature of the situation, I called for the elected members responsible to resign from their positions and I am pleased that they have done so.”

Furthermore, Cllr Douglas McCall, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said: “It is right that the council has taken action to revoke the licence of someone with convictions of this nature. 

"I was very concerned to hear about the decisions made by the committee at the two meetings. 

"Cllr Burke has today resigned as chairman of the licensing and regulatory committee and sub committees and has also stepped down from the committee. 

"Cllr Shafiq also recognises his error of judgement in speaking in support of the driver in question, and has resigned from the role of mayor. I am very pleased that steps are being taken to tighten up procedures in future.”

    Source MKWeb.

Friday, August 29, 2014

NEWS FLASH: Police statement, re increase to threat level

National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said:

“The threat level from international terrorism has changed from SUBSTANTIAL to SEVERE in response to the developments in Syria and Iraq. 

"This means it is highly likely that a terrorist attack could happen in the UK.

“We therefore continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to police. We need communities and families to bring to our attention anyone they perceive may be vulnerable, a danger or escalating towards terrorism. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

“Public safety is our priority and we have a variety of established operational tactics that are regularly used to ensure that the UK is both well prepared and protected. Over the years we have built capabilities and enhanced our security arrangements against a consistently high level of threat. Much of this is already in place. Our aim is to reduce the risk to the public and we keep our security arrangements under constant review in line with the threat we face.

“We have activated the established planning mechanisms across the police service, coordinated by me as National Policing Lead on Counter Terrorism. This will lead to enhanced prevention and preparedness.

“From this afternoon we will begin to increase our levels of visible patrols and implement other security and protection measures. We will also build on existing community relations to provide reassurance and seek their support and assistance in keeping the UK safe.”

Editorial Comment:
Unbelievably, even though the security risk level has been raised to the second highest ever, the police will still ignore lines of cars illegally ranking, illegally plying for hire, outside London's clubs and bars.

It's alleged on this blog that police in Coventry Street have been encouraging minicabs to form an illegal rank and illegally park on the pavement. After this new warning will the authorities revise this decision. We shall see later tonight.

Let's not forget, the car bombs left outside Tiger a Tiger and at the bottom of the Haymarket. 

Only luck prevented car bomb carnage in West End.
Two cars laden with gas cylinders and 130 litres of petrol, each sprinkled with up to a thousand 2in clout nails, should have proved a deadly combination.

Forensic investigators found an overseen gap of less than 1mm between the phones and their detonators broke the initiator circuit.

If the bombs hadn't failed to ignite, we could have been mourning a disaster on the scale of the 7/7 London tube bombings.

Police and local council wardens took no notice of these cars as they were thought to be minicabs. In fact, to the trades horror and disbelief, cars were back outside Tiger a Tiger, illegally plying for hire withing 24 hours.

BREAKING: Mayor Subhan Shafiq resigns in taxi licensing scandal.

MILTON Keynes Council has just announced that mayor Subhan Shafiq has resigned after he gave a reference for a taxi driver convicted of rape and other serious sexual offences who has been working in the city.

Two other councillors, Liberal Democrat Stuart Burke, who represents Shenley Brook End, and Labour's Gladstone McKenzie, from Bletchley Park ward, who were members of the Licensing & Regulation Committee that approved the driver's licence, have also resigned.

The council is now carrying out an investigation into six other drivers accused of other serious offences, that do not include rape.

One of them is being investigated for a sexual offence.

Skyline employed driver convicted of rape - but says it 'didn't know' and blames Milton Keynes Council for giving them a licence
The shock announcement came at a press conference at the Civic Offices today,  where chief executive Carole Mills and Leader of the Council Pete Marland gave statements.

Cllr Subhan Shafiq said: “It is with deep sorrow that I feel that I have no alternative but to resign as Mayor of Milton Keynes as I have lost the confidence of many councillors. 

"Sadly I gave a reference to someone, three and a half years ago, regarding the few years I have known them in Milton Keynes, with hindsight I should not have. Now I am Mayor it is best that I resign as the office of Mayor must be above criticism.

"It has been a great honour for me to have been elected Mayor and it is with regret that I have had to resign. 

"I hope that I have served the residents of Milton Keynes well during my short period as Mayor. My wife and I have been so proud to represent this great city of Milton Keynes.

"I will obviously continue my work as a ward councillor and represent my residents to the best of my ability."

Cllr Stuart Burke, former chairman of Licensing & Regulation, said: “It is with regret that I have decided to resign as Chair of Licensing and Regulation. 

"It is clear that on reflection I made an error of judgement in taking the decision to grant a taxi license in this particular case. I am pleased that there are now much clearer draft rules on how to deal with applicants that have paid the price for their crime.

"I have enjoyed my last four years as Chair of Licensing & Regulation; I would like to thank my fellow committee members and all the council officers who have helped me while I have been Chair. I will continue to work hard for the residents of my ward” ended Cllr. Burke."

More news on this as we get it.
    Source MKWeb.