Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 

Richard secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons last Wednesday night to discuss the safety of private hire drivers and their passengers.

Richard called for the debate following an incident in Bedford town centre in January in which a Kempston taxi driver was attacked and killed and another in which a taxi driver was assaulted when the passengers would not pay their fare up front.

During the debate, Richard called on the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, to consider using the “Proceeds of Crime Money” to introduce CCTV or screen shields in taxis and for the government to track more formally the statistics on criminal attacks on private hire drivers in order to use the information to make improvements in the sector.

 Richard said:

“Private hire and taxi drivers are a vital part of our public transport system, and when it comes to their physical safety and the safety of their property, they deserve to be afforded the same protection as our bus drivers, airline staff and railway employees, but they are not.”

Citing the FoI request by the Bedfordshire on Sunday that showed that there had been 93 recorded assaults on drivers in the preceding twelve months, Richard noted that the local authority had estimated this was 2% of drivers being assaulted each year, stating “very few jobs have such a high rate of unprovoked violence.”

Richard added:

“Legislation on taxi licences dates from 1847 and 1976, so I welcome the Law Commission review and will be talking with them during their consultation.

 “I was very pleased that the Minister, Norman Baker, had such a positive response to my calls for more to be done for driver – and passenger – safety. I hope the review of the legislation will suggest some initiatives to make our private hire and taxi sectors a respected part of our transport system, which is a status that both the drivers and the public deserve.”

For Richard’s full speech and the Minister’s response, please visit:

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