We take touting and cab-related offences very seriously. That’s why we are working with the police and other agencies to tackle them and make travelling in the Capital safer at night. These include industry regulation and licensing, enforcement and education.
Safer Travel at Night
Many of our activities come under the Mayor’s Safer Travel at Night initiative, which aims to make travelling in London at night safer. This encourages the use of legal cabs, including licensed taxis (black cabs) and licensed and booked private hire vehicles (including minicabs), as well as other legitimate public transport services.
Working with the police
We are working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police to tackle touting and unlawful plying for hire. We now fund 68 dedicated cab enforcement officers in these organisations.
We are responsible for taxi and private hire licensing, ensuring that licensees comply with legislation to maintain high standards of safety for the public. This work involves regular visits to licensed operators, on-street vehicle inspections and participating in joint operations with the police.
Cab Enforcement Unit
The Metropolitan Police Safer Transport Command (STC) has a dedicated Cab Enforcement Unit which is responsible for enforcing the law relating to taxis and private hire vehicles in London.
It tackles touting and other cab-related offences in a number of ways. These include covert and high visibility operations across London which aim to detect, disrupt and deter touts.
The Cab Enforcement Unit works closely with the Safer Transport Teams and local borough police on joint operations to tackle touting through detection and deterrence activities.
Recent measures include:
- Doubling the number of cab enforcement officers in 2008 to provide greater coverage across London
- Ongoing covert and high-visibility anti-touting operations. The STC’s Cab Enforcement Unit has made over 7,000 arrests for touting since in 2003
- Setting up a police team targeting cab-related sexual offences as part of the STC Enforcement Unit in June 2009. The team follows up leads, carries out surveillance work and gathers intelligence to bring offenders to justice. It also assists with the investigation and prosecution of cab-related sexual offences
- Introducing tougher penalties for licensed private hire drivers who are caught touting. Private hire drivers now lose their private hire licence for a minimum of one year following a conviction or caution for touting. We have revoked over 600 licences since the policy began in 2008
- The STC is investigating prolific touts and confiscating their assets
- Safer Transport Teams have increased their focus on illegal cabs across London
- The Safer Travel at Night campaign is continuing to educate the public about the law relating to taxis and minicabs. It is raising awareness of the dangers of unbooked minicabs and providing the public with better access to safe travel options
- Placing windscreen stickers on vehicles when the driver has been arrested for touting, reminding other drivers of the consequences of breaking the law
- Deploying late night enforcement officers on a regular basis to carry out compliance activity and support joint operations with the police