Safety warning issued to taxi users after suspected rape

Safety warning issued to taxi users after suspected rape

Reporter:

Justin Burns

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Safety warning issued to taxi users after suspected rape

Taxi users in Windsor and Maidenhead have been warned by the Royal Borough to make sure they check they are using drivers and vehicles that are licensed and regulated.

The council's message comes after a 19-year-old woman was sexually assaulted on Saturday last week after leaving Liquid in Windsor and got into a car she thought was a cab.

Borough safety chiefs say the public safety incident underlined the need for would-be passengers to check the car they get into is a ‘proper taxi’.

Licensed cabs carry distinctive registration plates – one for hackney carriages which can be hailed in the street and a different one for private hire cars that must be booked in advance.

Cllr Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environmental services, said it was 'important' borough residents and visitors can be confident they are getting into a safe taxi.

He said systems are in place to help ensure drivers are people users can trust and would-be passengers get into licensed vehicles.

Cllr Cox advised taxi users to make sure they check the roof sign and registration plate before getting into the taxi.

The council is working with owners and drivers to roll out the borough's livery, of which half the 148 licensed cabs now have to make licensed hackney carriages more visible.

The aim is to eventually have all hackney carriages in white and sporting the council’s logo, set at an angle on both sides of the vehicle.

Chief Inspector Lee Townsend, deputy local area police commander, said taxi drivers must be aware of the need to offer their customers a 'totally safe service'.

He said: "Following recent allegations we have contacted drivers and owners to remind them of their responsibilities.

"And offer practical hints on how to operate their businesses professionally and to the highest standards."

He added police are aware there are some individuals 'masquerading' as taxi drivers, which is an 'issue' for the force.

Anshul Sharma, 23, of Hencroft Street South in Slough is due to appear at Reading Crown Court on Monday on suspicion of rape in connection with the incident on Saturday.

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