|Call Sign: Some licensed taxi drivers
are becoming rather nervous at the sudden explosion of road side video speed traps.
Obviously no one should be above the law, but we now have drivers who have had clean
licenses for 20+ years who suddenly are heading towards 12 points on their licence and a
ban from their only means of work. While appreciating that speed limits are there for a
good reason, some of our drivers - including myself - believe that whereas a £40 fine is
fair, the three point penalty should not come in unless the speed limit has been broken by
over 20 mph. We all know how easy it is on a quiet night with a good quality road, to
exceed the 30 mph limit without even realising it. 42 mph and you will be flashed and
given 3 points. What is your view on that situation?
Manning: As I am sure you will agree, speed limits on public roads have a major
contribution to make to road safety. The blatant disregard of those limits by some
motorists is obviously of concern to the police and other safety conscious road users and
I welcome any measures which help to detect offenders and deter other motorists from
excess speed. As you will appreciate, speed cameras are a cost effective means of
enforcing speed limits and also free police officers for other tasks.
police but are a matter for Parliament and the courts. Taxi drivers, being the professionals that they are, should have a particular appreciation of the need for road safety measures and their effective enforcement. I would expect them to be fully aware of their obligation to comply with all traffic regulations and, in view of their high profile in the streets of the capital, would hope that they would set a good example to other road users.
CS: It seems likely that minicabs will soon be licensed. Naturally, with a trade of 21000 drivers, there are many differing opinions. But the recurring question still remains: If (when?) Private Hire become licensed, what difference will there be to the police attitude towards the third tier; ie the touts who make their living in Londons West End by stopping and picking up fare- paying passengers who are waiting for taxis. They obviously will not be licensed and probably wouldnt want to be anyway. Police do not have the manpower at present to deal with the problem, do you foresee that situation improving to such an extent with licensing, that touting will almost vanish from the streets?
PM: The Metropolitan Police Service is aware of the difficulties which exist now, and may exist in the future when
|the private hire trade becomes
regulated. As regards those minicab drivers who tout for business and illegally ply for
hire; as with all aspects of police work, there will never be sufficient resources to give
as much attention as everyone might wish to the multitude of tasks which fall to the
police to perform. Nevertheless, the problems to which you refer are appreciated and it is
expected that additional enforcement resources, specifically for this purpose, will be
made available and funded through the private hire licence fees.
The licensing of the legitimate element of the private hire trade will ease the present problems of enforcement and I can assure you that the Metropolitan Police will devote such resources to this as it is able to in the light of the many competing priorities.
CS: Do you have any views on who the licensing authorities should be when Private Hire are eventually licensed?
PM: In response to a request from the Secretary of State, the Metropolitan Police Service has stated that, through the Public Carriage Office, it is prepared to become the regulatory body for the private hire trade but in the expectation that, in due course, the function will transfer to the Greater London Authority. As you know, we now await the necessary legislation.
CS: Thank you
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