On Wednesday 17th November 2010 the United Cabbies Group staged a drive-in demonstration at Oxford Circus.
At 3pm, thousands of London Taxis descended on Oxford Circus in protest against Satellite Offices which we believe are directly responsible for the alarming number of rapes and sexual assaults being committed in licensed and illegal minicabs in London.
The resulting traffic chaos spread as far as Bayswater Rd in the west, High Holborn in the east, Marylebone Rd in the north, Piccadilly Circus in the south, and all the side streets and surrounding areas.
The whole of Central London was gridlocked for more than 2 hours , and the bus network was seriously disrupted.
We were also joined by hundreds of motorbikes from the ‘No To Bike Parking Tax’ Lobby who seriously raised the noise levels with their horns and sirens. They were there to support us in our protest at this very serious public safety issue, and to show their own displeasure against Westminster Council and their draconian parking enforcement regulations.
And they certainly put on a good show!
Well Done chaps, we would like to thank you for your support and we very much look forward to working with you in the future.
Transport for London and The Public Carriage Office are issuing Satellite Office licenses to anyone who applys, simply to raise vast amounts of money, and there are now so many of them that they have totally lost control. There has recently been an increase of 54% (TfL figures) in sexual assaults including 24 rapes by licensed and illegal minicabs and this figure will surely grow if something is not done about it soon.
John Mason Director of Taxis and Private Hire said on BBC Radio London earlier in the day that this demonstration was only supported by a small group of drivers and not the wider trade bodies, and questions must now be asked why they are not concerned by this.
He also stated that the fault lies squarely at the feet of the public who use these vehicles, and accepted no part of the blame whatsoever.
Will it take a member of the public to be murdered before you start listening?
UCG marshalls handed out over 2000 leaflets to members of the public containing this message…
The Reason For This Demonstration.
Dear member of the public, as you are aware London’s Taxi drivers are staging a drive-in demonstration today to highlight the appalling number of rapes and sexual assaults by licensed and illegal minicabs that are taking place in London at an alarming rate.
Transport for London have caused this problem by creating what’s known as ‘Satellite Offices’. These are nothing more than a man standing outside a club/bar/hotel etc with a clipboard, who approaches young men and women who have usually been drinking, and offers to get one of his minicabs to take them home.
It is in these vehicles that these young people are being attacked, raped and sexually assaulted by the unscrupulous drivers who have had very little, if any criminal record checks (CRB) before obtaining their licences. The only record that a young person has been in their car is the name of the passenger on a clipboard, and these predators are taking full advantage of this, safe in the knowledge that there is virtually no chance of them being identified and caught.
TfL are issuing minicab licenses at such an alarming rate that there are now so many of them that they are also now picking young, lone and vulnerable people up off the street, without any record of the journey whatsoever.
IT REALLY IS A SEXUAL PREDATORS PARADISE!
Figures recently released by Transport for London show an increase of 54% in sexual attacks including rape in the last few months. That’s 54% on top of the figures they have already!
Only London’s Licensed Taxis are allowed to ply for for hire (Pick up off the street) because we have passed The Knowledge and had full CRB criminal record checks, and we are very highly regulated by the police and the Public Carriage Office.
Why are TfL allowing this to Happen? The answer is simple… REVENUE!
They do not care if young lives are destroyed forever, just as long as they can make vast amounts of money out of issuing as many licenses as they can. It is absolutely scandalous that there are no limits to the amount of Licenses that they giving out, and if these remain uncapped then things will only get worse.
The London Taxi trade can not just sit there and watch this happen, hence this demo today to highlight this situation in front of the world’s media, and because this situation is now so out of control we feel it must be stopped before anybody else is attacked.
We apologise if you are in any way inconvenienced by todays action, but we think you will agree with us that this has to stop, afterall, the next person to be attacked could be you or one of your loved ones.
Thank you, and remember…
Be Safe, Be Sure… Always use a Licensed London Taxi.
The response we received from the public was excellent with many of them voicing their disbelief that this situation is being allowed to continue.
After a few hours, drivers so incensed by John Mason’s attitude decided to head towards The Palestra Building on Blackfriars Rd to protest directly outside his office.
The banner was erected, and hundreds of Taxis and bikes circled the building sounding their horns.
There were a number of police and security outside the building, and they were quite happy to let us hold this peaceful demonstration. Many of the officers we spoke to said they supported us and agreed that this situation was now out of control.
TOCU’s recently dismissed Police Sargeant Joe Royle is himself on record saying that Satellite Offices are ‘Unpolicable’, yet the people at Transport for London and The PCO have failed to take heed.
How many more victims must there be before they start to accept responsibility?
The demonstration at Palestra lasted for over an hour with approximately 300 Taxis circling the building and many more who simply could not get near it with the queue stretching back to Blackfriars Bridge and beyond.
Just after 5pm John Mason left the building to go to a meeting with TfL at Victoria St. He was approached by a UCG spokesperson who tried to speak to him and was met with the response…
“Get away from me, I don’t want to talk to you”
Maybe you don’t John, but we feel it is your duty to explain your blase attitude, if not to us, then certainly to the victims of rape and sexual assault!
Thanks to Stormcab for the great video!