The safety of passengers using taxis and private hire vehicles, commonly known as minicabs, is our top priority. Passengers should expect to be safe - and feel safe - when travelling by taxi or private hire and no one should ever be subject to sexual behaviour by a driver.

The Mayor's Taxi and Private Hire Action Plan sets out a range of measures to enhance public safety, including putting more compliance officers on the streets to help keep passengers safe.

On this page you will find data and information about sexual offences committed by taxi and private hire drivers against fare paying passengers reported to the Metropolitan and City of London Police in 2017.

Measures we take to ensure safety

With more than 100,000 licensed private hire drivers and more than 23,000 licensed taxi drivers in London, millions of taxi and private hire journeys are made every year. The vast majority pass without incident. However, we are working with our partners in the police to crackdown on the minority who look to offend. We always push for the toughest penalties possible.

Measures include:

  • Police and TfL enforcement activity
  • Increasing the number of Taxi and Private Hire Compliance officers providing regular checks of licensed operators, drivers and vehicles and identifying illegal activity
  • targeted plain clothes operations to detect offenders
  • High visibility operations to deter offenders
  • Police and TfL investigations of all allegations, whether reported directly, through social media, customer complaints, operators or via a third-party
  • TfL licensing action against licensed drivers where appropriate
  • Dedicated TfL Taxi and Private Hire customer complaints channel, to encourage reporting of inappropriate driver conduct so appropriate action can be taken by TfL and/or the police
  • Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on all drivers and applicants when they apply for or renew a licence
  • Joint TfL/police guidance issued to all Private Hire Operators on reporting alleged or suspected criminal conduct to the police in an appropriate and timely way
  • Safer Travel at Night communications campaign
  • Lobbying Government for tighter controls on cross border hiring as well as additional enforcement powers

Recorded crime figures

The figures in Table 1 show the annual number of taxi and private hire journey-related sexual offences recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and City of London Police (CoLP) since 2002. The MPS and CoLP are responsible for investigating crimes that have been committed in London. In line with Home Office crime counting rules, the figures relate to crime recorded by the police during that year, regardless of when the offence took place.

Offences that are committed outside of London by London licensed drivers are investigated by the local police force for that area. These offences are not included in the figures below. TfL will take any appropriate licensing action when notified of a sexual offence by a London licensed driver, regardless of which police force notifies us.

The figures relate to sexual offences (rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault) committed by a licensed or bogus driver against a fare-paying passenger that have taken place in London. The figures include both licensed taxi or private hire drivers and those bogus drivers posing as taxi or private hire drivers.

The figures are broken down into rape and 'other sexual offences' (these are MPS sub-categories for sexual offences). The vast majority of 'other sexual offences' are sexual assaults, which can include offences such as:

  • intentional sexual touching of another person without their consent
  • a driver attempting to kiss or grope a passenger
  • a driver grabbing a passenger's hand to kiss it

Please note, not all of the offences reported in Table 1 will have resulted in a driver being charged. This could be for various reasons, including the driver not being traced and identified, insufficient evidence to charge a suspect, the Crown Prosecution Service deciding it is not in the public interest to prosecute, or the victim's reluctance to proceed with a prosecution.

Offences that were recorded by the police in 2017 that resulted in a charge are outlined in Table 2.

Recorded crime figures for Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences 2002-2017

Year  Rape  Other sexual offence  Total 
2002 43   146 189
2003 27  97 124
2004 25  100 125
2005 15  101 116
2006  14  93 107
2007  15  89 104
2008  12  96 108
2009 24 112 136
2010 21 102 123
2011 30 77 107
2012 23 105 128
2013 17 84 101
2014 28 108 136
2015 28 108 136
2016 30 134 164
2017 34 128 162

 

Breakdown of drivers charged by licence status and journey type

We have worked with the MPS and CoLP to provide information about the licence status and journey type for all drivers who have been charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence, recorded in the 2017 calendar year.

A driver will be charged when the MPS or CoLP has determined that there is sufficient evidence for the case to go before the Court, and the Crown Prosecution Service decides that there is a reasonable chance of a conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge the suspect with a sexual offence. The total number of drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence that was recorded in 2017 is shown in the table below.

Information about the location, time of offence and any details about the suspect(s) involved is used by the MPS, CoLP and TfL for intelligence-led enforcement and investigation.

Some reports of offences in Table 1 are unbooked and the drivers can't be traced. The police are more likely to be able to trace and take action against a minicab driver, for example, when they are licensed and the journey is booked through a licensed operator as there will be a record of the booking and the driver.

Drivers charged

Table 2 shows drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence recorded by the police in 2017. There were 21 individual drivers charged for 24 offences. Three drivers were charged with more than one offence.

Table 2: 2017 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged

These figures relate to crimes recorded by the police in 2017 and verified against TfL's Taxi and Private Hire licensing database.

Offender profile   Nature of sexual offence  
Journey type Driver's TfL licence status at time of offence Total by driver and journey type Rape Other sexual offences Court outcome
Private hire - not booked Unlicensed driver 0 0 0 -
Licensed private hire driver 2 1 1 Not guilty
Private hire - booked via operator Licensed private hire driver 22 0 8 Convicted
1 7 Not guilty
1 5 Awaiting court hearing/outcome
Unlicensed driver 0 0 -
Taxi Licensed taxi driver 0 0
Totals 24 3 21  

These figures were correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change. Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences data is updated and published annually.

Action against offenders

Where the suspect is a TfL licensed taxi or private hire driver, and we are notified by the police of an allegation, we immediately assess whether there is a risk to public safety. We may immediately suspend the driver's licence prior to charge or conviction, if we believe that is required in the interests of public safety. In some cases, we may revoke a driver's licence immediately, irrespective of the results of the police investigation and subsequent court proceedings.

Licensed drivers

Of the 21 drivers charged for the 24 offences in 2017, all were licensed private hire drivers at the time of the offence (including booked and unbooked journeys).

Of the 21 licensed private hire drivers:

  • Seven were convicted and no longer hold a private hire driver's licence
  • Four are awaiting court outcomes and are not currently licensed
  • Nine were found not guilty. One of these drivers currently holds a private hire driver's licence
  • One was found guilty of one offence, and is awaiting trial for a separate offence. This driver no longer holds a private hire driver's licence

Private hire operators

The information in this section relates to offences where the journey was booked through a private hire operator.

Of the 24 Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged, 22 offences were from booked journeys, booked through six different private hire operators. 19 of the total 21 drivers charged were on booked journeys.

The private hire operators which have had one or more of their drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence are listed in Table 3.

Table 3: 2017 - Breakdown of Private Hire Operators which have had one or more drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence

Operator Awaiting court hearing / outcome  Convicted Not guilty  Total offences  Total drivers 

Havering Radio Cars UK Ltd (A1 Car Service)

    1  1  1
Gold Line Cars Services Ltd     2 2 1
Keen Cars Ltd     1 1 1
Melville Cars Ltd   1   1 1
Triple A Express Ltd (Skyex)   1   1 1
Uber London Ltd 6 6 4 16 14
Total number of offences 6 8 8 22 -
Total number of drivers 19

Please note:

  • There were 19 individual drivers charged for offences on journeys booked through a private hire operator. Seven drivers were convicted of the offences at court, six were found not guilty, five are still awaiting trial and one driver was found guilty of one offence and is still awaiting trial for the second offence.
  • Three of these drivers were charged with two offences each. One driver was found not guilty for both offences, one is still awaiting trial for both offences and the third was found guilty of one offence and is still awaiting trial for the second offence.
  • The operator names listed in the table above are based on information recorded by the Metropolitan Police Service as part of its investigation of a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence.

Check before you get in

We have made it a requirement that all private hire operators have to give you a booking confirmation - which could be by text message, app, email or - if you're in a minicab office - paper receipt. The booking confirmation includes details of the licensed private hire driver and vehicle that has been booked for you. Please check before you get in. If the driver or the car picking you up is not the same as in your booking confirmation, do not get in the car.

Find out more about about safer travel in taxis and private hire vehicles

Report an incident

Thousands of taxi and minicab journeys are taken every day, the vast majority without incident. If you experience any behaviour of a sexual nature from a taxi or private hire (minicab) driver, including if they comment on your appearance or look at you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, please report it. You will always be taken seriously.

Report a sexual offence, eg groping, indecent acts or driver behaviour that feels threatening or intimidating to the police by dialling 999 if it is an emergency - otherwise call 101. Alternatively, use the online reporting tool.

Make a complaint

You can also make a complaint about a driver's behaviour or any other aspect of the journey to the Private Hire Operator you booked through. Private Hire Operators are required to make a person available for passengers to speak to at all times during operating hours and when a journey is being undertaken, in the event that a passenger wants to make a complaint or discuss any other matter about the carrying out of a booking. Private Hire Operators have been asked to notify the police immediately of any complaints or reports they receive that they consider to be an alleged or suspected crime so they can be fully investigated.

You can also report any inappropriate driver behaviour, such as comments that make you feel uncomfortable, to TfL by calling 0343 222 4000 (Mon-Fri, 09:00-17:00) or online. TfL takes these reports seriously and will investigate all complaints against TfL licensed Taxi and Private Hire drivers.