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TRANSPORT officials launched a crackdown on bogus mini-cab drivers yesterday.

Officers from the Transport Operational Command Unit of the Metropolitan Police took to the streets of Westminster targeting suspected taxi touts.

During an undercover operation 19 mini-cab drivers were arrested for illegal touting for business. A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said one driver wasfound to be carrying a knife, another had a stolen credit card and two were disqualified from driving.

Acting Superintendent Chris Rose said the touts usually preyed on groups of women and warned people to be on their guard against them.

'We recognise that large groups of women do go out together and that illegal touts approach them offering them a lift home,' he said.

'Unfortunately people think it's alright to catch an illegal cab if they are with friends. However, often only one person is left in the cabwhohas the last stretch of the journey to go alone, leaving them very vulnerable. You should never underestimate the dangers of illegal and unlicensed minicabs. Not only can they be potential death-traps, you just do not know who you are getting into the cab with or the motives of the driver.

'We will continue to work with all our partners to clampdown on illegal touts. They are not safe.'
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2004
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