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					CAB WATCH                                        NEWS
 MAY 2004

This newsletter has been produced to advise all new Hackney Cab and
Private Hire drivers of the now well-established CAB WATCH programme,
and of its continuing fight against cab crime. It also aims to update Cabbies
already aware of the scheme, with the latest information.


During the early part of 2003, following concerns by cab drivers regarding
their safety during the course of their business, a meeting was held at
Gravesend Police Station involving the Hackney Carriage Inspectors from the
Dartford and Gravesham areas, Pc Ridley from the North Kent Traffic
Management Unit of Kent Police, Mr Brian Sanger, of the Kent Police
Authority, a contingent of cab drivers, and the then Superintendent of North
Kent Police, Mr David Pryer.
The result of that meeting was such that Pc Ridley, in company with the
Hackney Carriage Inspectors, agreed to form a group entitled “CAB WATCH”,
and to formulate a raft of measures to assist cab driver’s safety. Following
many meetings between this group, and in-depth discussions, a number of
options were selected. These included a sticker campaign, safety screening,
in-vehicle CCTV, and a passenger contact scheme, to name but a few.
The CAB WATCH programme was then launched on the 1st September 2003
at the Bluewater Retail Shopping Centre, an organisation also giving its
support to the safety and wellbeing of the Cab fraternity. Numerous
manufacturers connected to the Hackney carriage and Private Hire industry
attended and demonstrated their products.
The CAB WATCH group now meets approximately every two months to
discuss current issues.

A sticker has been produced, which when displayed in the rear windscreen of
the cab, requests that the Police (North Kent only) may stop the vehicle when
the cab had a fare on board, and establish briefly, that the driver, and the fare
had not been the subject of cab crime. Funding for this enterprise was
obtained between North Kent Police, Dartford and Gravesham Borough
Councils. The Hackney Carriage Inspectors distributed the stickers among the
drivers, as CAB WATCH was launched. Whilst the Dartford Cabbies took the
sticker scheme on board, a very limited response was received from the
Gravesham Cabdrivers. On further investigation, it was established that the
driver’s felt that they did not wish to identify their cabs during non-working
periods. Two simple solutions were put forward to solve this dilemma. Pc

Ridley suggested that the sticker could be located in a tax disc holder then
affixed to the rear windscreen. The disc could be inserted or removed as
required. Nick Morris a Dartford Cab Company proprietor found another
solution and had a magnetic version of the sticker produced.
If new drivers wish to obtain a sticker, or existing drivers require a
replacement, then a limited number are still available. These can be obtained
by contacting the appropriate Hackney Carriage Inspector. Drivers wishing
further information on the magnetic version can contact Nick on:
It must be pointed out however that the Police will not stop a cab under this
scheme, unless a fare is present in the vehicle, and that a sticker is clearly
displayed in the rear windscreen.

Drivers who drove other models of vehicles, other than the typical “London
Cab” style, expressed concerns of potential risk of attack from rear seat
passengers, who assaulted the driver, either as a means to make off without
payment (bilking) or as part of a robbery to obtain any takings that it was
considered that the driver may possess. Pc Ridley subsequently designed
and had produced a polycarbonate screen that bolted together and was
secured to both the front seats. This screen retailed at approximately £160:00,
but the price was subject to a minimum of fifty drivers taking up this particular
project. To date, only a limited number of drivers have shown interest in this
product. Should sufficient numbers of drivers have further interest in this
product, this product could be made available, however pricing increases may
well apply.

The group looked at several different types of in-vehicle CCTV systems, and
finally arranged with a company called European Innovations (EIMC) to work
closely with the team. The company agreed to a special package to install
some systems in Dartford and Gravesham Cabs in order to identify offenders
so that successful prosecutions will follow and vigorous Media circulation
used to support it. Whilst there has been some success, the reality is that all
the cabs currently fitted with CCTV are not suffering Cab Crime, whilst those
without units do – A very clear moral to the story !!
The current scheme permits for the loaned systems to be placed in nominated
vehicles for a limited period, in order that it will demonstrate to drivers how
much of a deterrent CCTV really is.
The CCTV system has clearly shown that it has a considerable effect on
reducing incidences of Cab Crime, and many drivers have recognised this
fact, choosing to purchase their own equipment. The number of units now
being sold easily demonstrates the popularity of CCTV. Whilst there are many
companies producing similar systems the group have found that EIMC have
gone beyond the normal manufacturer / customer relationship, and have
assisted each driver with a custom installation. EIMC whilst selling their
product at very competitive rates, are aware that drivers of customers
financial constraints. Therefore they can offer flexible options as to payment.
(See attached leaflets).


Due to concerns expressed by drivers in respect of attack or the perceived
risk of attack by actual or potential fares, North Kent Police as part of its raft of
measures put together a safety-training package, offering cab drivers the
opportunity to learn the skill of reading developing situations, and the body
language of potential offenders prior to attack, in order to help them take
appropriate action if necessary. A venue was chosen, and a Kent Police
Safety Training Officer arranged, due to the views held that numerous cab
drivers (50+suggested) throughout North Kent would wish to participate. On
the day in question only approx. fifteen individuals turned up. Whilst these
drivers gained much from the session, it was very disappointing that very few
attended, it was further frustrating, when feedback confirmed that there were
drivers who preferred to go and watch football instead. Whilst Kent Police,
and its strategic partners are quite prepared to put considerable effort into
various schemes for cabbies, an appropriate level of participation in return is
expected. Feedback from the drivers who did take part has suggested that it
was worthwhile, and that the event would be worth repeating. If you feel that
this is the case, and you are prepared to attend, please contact your
Hackney Carriage / Private Hire Inspector, and register your interest.

Concerns that there may be bogus cabs operating in the North Kent area,
caused the group to set up an Enforcement Stop Check programme, where
cabs would be stopped, and drivers and vehicles checked and inspected by a
Multi-Agency task force, to establish that drivers operating within the area,
were legitimate and managing their business within the legal framework. The
Dartford system got underway, very early on, and has operated quite
frequently over the last few months. Unfortunately, the Gravesham operation
had suffered setbacks, and only produced some limited ad-hoc checks.
Following the last meeting this matter is being addressed and checks are
forthcoming in the Gravesham areas..

Kent Police has the majority of its initial contact with the public by telephone.
Effective deployment is fundamental to the management of demand. Callers
with a 999 emergency will be given priority. All calls will be graded according
to their priority requirement.

Immediate Urban / Immediate Rural calls are those where:

   •   Violence is being used or threatened
   •   There is danger to life
•    A crime is in progress
•    An offender has recently been disturbed at a serious crime
•    A traffic crash results in personal injury or serious traffic congestion
•    Any incident on the Strategic Road Network where there is potential
     danger to life

The above calls would fit the criteria, for a member of the public to make a
999 call, and as such would receive an immediate response from the

High Calls are those where:

     •    They do not fall into the category of Immediate
     •    Are suitable for alternative resolution
     •    They are Police matters which are of sufficient urgency to require
          attendance of a patrol resource within 45 minutes

Deferred Calls are those where:

      •   They require Police attendance but not within 45 minutes

Low Calls are those where:

      •   A crime requires to be reported to the Central Crime Reporting Unit
      •   Non-Attendance calls – where advice can be given or the caller
          redirected to the appropriate Agency to deal.

     It is important for callers to be clear if making a 999 call, that the
    importance of that call fits within the Immediate Urban / Immediate
    Rural criteria. Making an inappropriate contact may well prevent an
     appropriate user of the 999 system being unable to get through.


Following the suggestion at the last CAB WATCH meeting, that as the
group is now well establish, it should extend the offer to join and
participate, to the Sevenoaks / Swanley cab drivers, Geographically North
Kent Policing area, covers part of the Sevenoaks and Swanley
boundaries. To that end contact is being made with the Sevenoaks
Hackney Carriage Inspector – John Riches, to invite him, and some of
their drivers to represent Sevenoaks, at the next meeting on 31st August

New ideas and suggestions are not solely the domain of the CAB WATCH
group, if you have any innovations that you think may benefit you and your
colleagues, please raise the topic at a subsequent meeting, or pass it onto
a work colleague or one of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire
Inspectors who can.


We were very fortunate at the recent CAB WATCH meeting to have
European Innovations (EIMC) attended, and explained more about their
CCTV CAB EYE system, including the finance package that is now
available. Whilst details were handed around to members in attendance, if
you would like to know more, please contact the company on 08700-
704141, or write to:
Unit 3 Block 6 Vestry Estate
Kent TN14 5EL

Please ask to speak to, or address correspondence to Mr Alastair Dowden

Pc 7855 Steve Ridley
North Kent Traffic Management Unit
North Kent Police

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