Targeting taxis Dash cams would help catch youths
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