Keeping safe and sound
Assaults on taxi and private-hire drivers are rare, but it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. There are many ways to take precautions, & to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
CCTV systems approved by TfL can be installed in taxis and PH vehicles. Having a CCTV system fitted is not obligatory in London, but it can make things significantly safer.
- Deter/prevent crime
- Reduce the fear of crime taking place
- Help police investigate any crimes which may occur
- Help aid insurance companies investigate motor accidents
- Assist in any dispute between a driver and their passenger/passengers
During an annual licensing inspection, the CCTV system will be checked to ensure it has been fitted correctly & is ready for approval.
Recorded images must be kept secure always & can only be retained for 28 days from the date taken. For more guidance on how to keep personal data secure, visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website at www.ico.org.uk
TfL’s guidelines on CCTV, & a list of TfL approved CCTV systems, can be found at tfl.gov.uk/ corporate/publications-andreports/taxi-and-private-hire
Being spat at is not only nasty, but it’s assault. TfL encourage all taxi & private hire drivers to carry a spit kit in their vehicle, so offenders can be identified and prosecuted. These kits collect DNA which provides an 80% chance of the suspect being identified, if the kit is used correctly.
When your kit arrives, make sure it contains:
- An instruction leaflet
- A sterile swab in tube
- An exhibit bag
- One pair of sterile gloves
Check the ‘use by’ date on your kit. Most have a shelf life of about two years.
If you are spat at:
- Use your spit kit as soon as you can
- Only swab from the skin or clothing.
- Do not swab from surfaces that passengers have access to as this leads to cross-contamination
- Use the gloves provided
You should then:
- Write your full name & the date of assault on the tube. Place in the evidence bag and seal it
- Fill in the information panel on the front of the bag & take it to a police station asap
The police can help you fill in the information panel on the bag & write a witness statement.
Using the spit kit
- Remove gloves from the sterile packaging to place them on
- Check the seal on the swab tube isn’t broken (if so, don’t use it)
- Remove the swab from the sterile tube; apply the cotton bud end directly on to the contaminated area (skin or clothing)
- Immediately place the swab back in the tube when complete
In the past year, acid attacks have almost doubled according to Metropolitan Police Service figures.
If you are attacked, or come across someone who has been a victim of an acid attack, the police advise the following:
- Call emergency services for immediate medical help
- Wash the affected areas with lots of water for a minimum of 20 minutes
- Ensure the water used for the affected areas doesn’t get on to other parts of the body
- Cut away affected clothing, instead of trying to pull it off
- Avoid sniffing any substances for risk of inhaling