Tar­get­ing taxis Dash cams would help catch youths

Middleton Guardian - - SPECIAL REPORT -

A PO­LICE sergeant says taxi firms ‘need to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity’ for deal­ing with youths who throw bot­tles, stones and bricks at their cabs.

Cab­bies in Mid­dle­ton town cen­tre have been at­tacked by young­sters be­tween the ages of around 14 and 16 over the past six months, caus­ing ex­ten­sive dam­age to ve­hi­cles.

They say that the po­lice have done lit­tle to help, but Mid­dle­ton neigh­bour­hood sergeant Ni­cholas Gal­gani hit back at their claims, say­ing he has tried to set up a taxi watch scheme and urged driv­ers to get dash cams so that he has the ev­i­dence to catch and pros­e­cute of­fend­ers.

“I have at­tempted on five oc­ca­sions over the last two to three years to set up a taxi watch scheme in Mid­dle­ton,” he added.

“The last time was a mat­ter of weeks ago. Af­ter a cab has been tar­geted, the ini­tial re­sponse from the firms is usu­ally quite en­cour­ag­ing to­wards the scheme, how­ever it has been the norm that, af­ter this ini­tial con­tact, en­gage­ment has not been forth­com­ing.

“Whilst I ac­cept that it is partly the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the po­lice to keep the pub­lic safe, we phys­i­cally do not have enough re­sources to have a pa­trol on ev­ery street cor­ner in case a taxi driver has an al­ter­ca­tion with youths.

“My­self and other of­fi­cers who have had deal­ings with the taxi firms have pleaded with them to look at the pos­si­bil­ity of fit­ting dash cam­eras.

“Some onus has to be on the firms them­selves to pro­tect their driv­ers, and dash cams would go a long way to as­sist in this.

“One of the main is­sues with the taxis be­ing tar­geted by youths is that they can hap­pen just about any­where.

“When they were be­ing tar­geted at a static point at the rank in the town cen­tre, we worked with the coun­cil to have the fo­liage cut back to en­sure the cam­era cov­er­ing the rank was not ob­structed, dis­per­sal no­tices were put in place and a group of youths were iden­ti­fied as be­ing re­spon­si­ble. The ring lead­ers were taken home and spo­ken to in front of their par­ents, as well as be­ing given ban­ning or­ders from the shop­ping cen­tre and the bus sta­tion.

“Taxi firms need to take some re­spon­si­bil­ity to as­sist by hav­ing dash cams, giv­ing us the ev­i­dence to pur­sue crimes.”

A dam­aged taxi win­dow caused by yobs throw­ing rocks

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