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Figures are flawed on taxi problem.

THE chop logic applied to partial statistics of instances of customers making off without payment for taxis suffers from the same defects I drew to your attention in relation to your allegations some time ago about the propensity of Gateshead residents to engage in shoplifting.

The new figures quoted appear to only be in relation to offences reported to the police.

Most taxis driver wouldn't waste their time seeking out the police in these matters, for, unless they also involve violence, the standard reaction is that it is a civil matter.

Turning to the figures cited, the cardinal error in this analysis is that it does not explain whether the taxi journey for which payment was avoided had started or ended in the council area.

Police divisions extend across borough boundaries. More importantly there is no evidence that the offenders in the cases reported were residents of the area to which the offences are attributed.

For example, there are approximately 1300 private hire and Hackney carriage vehicles licensed by North Tyneside Council and slightly more licensed drivers. I could, using your logic, point out that with 199 reported offences in 'North Tyneside' that represents about one instance of 'bilking' in seven years for each driver.

In reality the incidence of this offence is probably many times greater. Only a properly conducted survey could establish whether this offence is on the increase or decrease.

People doing this commit the offence at the drop-off point. They are not necessarily residents of the borough in which this occurs.

ALAN FIDLER, North Shields

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 11, 2016
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