Attacks on taxi drivers in Calderdale at lowest for four years but drivers say many crimes going unreported

Taxi driver Imran Ali who was victim of attack
Taxi driver Imran Ali who was victim of attack

OFFICIAL figures show violent attacks on taxi drivers in Calderdale have fallen to their lowest level for the last four years.

But drivers say a large number of assaults are still going unreported, while police say even one attack is too many.

A Freedom of Information request made by the Courier, has revealed that there were 15 reports of taxi drivers being robbed between January 2010 and December 2011 and 46 of violent crimes against cabbies.

In 21 of those, race or religion was flagged as a factor.

The figure is lower than for between January 2009 and December 2010, when there were 71 assaults and robberies, for between January 2008 and December 2009 when it was 87 and for between January 2007 and December 2008 when there were 82.

However, President of Calderdale Private Hire Association Nasir Hussain, said the police figures will not reflect the true number of attacks because many drivers are not going to officers when they are victims.

“If a driver has a brick thrown at his car and it smashes the window, he would rather get it fixed quickly so he can get back out on the road making a living,” he said.

“I try to encourage drivers to report these crimes to the police but they don’t always because they need to get back on the road.”

The Courier reported in April how taxi driver Imran Ali had his leg broken in three places in a vicious attack near Wheatley.

He was ambushed and dragged out of his car after two men walked out in front of him, forcing him to stop.

The beating has put him off driving a cab ever again.

Police have been working with drivers to boost their safety and measures have included securing funding from the Home Office for cameras in some cars.

Mr Hussain said cameras can have helped drivers feel safer but, at a cost of around £1,600 to buy and another £150 to fit, not all can afford them.

He urged drivers to make sure they report any attacks.

Detective Inspector Ashley Hewitt said attacks on taxi drivers will not be tolerated.

“We have seen a reduction but these are people who are just going about their daily business and even one offence is one too many,” he said.

Anyone with information about attacks on taxi drivers should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, where information can be passed on anonymously, on 0800 555111.