TPH journey-related sexual offences
The safety of passengers using taxis and private hire vehicles (commonly known as minicabs) continues to be a priority for us and our policing partners. Passengers should expect to be safe - and feel safe - when travelling by taxi or private hire and no one should ever be subject to any form or sexual behaviour from a driver.
Measures we take to ensure safety
Tens of millions of journeys are made by taxi and private hire vehicles every year with most passing without incident. But we work with our partners in the police to crackdown on the minority of drivers who offend and put passenger safety at risk.
Joint TfL/police guidance has been issued to all Private Hire Operators on how to report alleged or suspected criminal conduct to the police in an appropriate and timely way.
Measures in place to enhance passenger safety include:
Police and TfL enforcement activity
- Regular checks/inspections of licensed operators, drivers and vehicles to ensure compliance and identify and deal with non-compliant or illegal activity
- Regular on-street checks of drivers and vehicles to ensure compliance and identify and deal with any non-compliant or illegal activity
- Regular inspections at operator centres to ensure all licensed operators are sticking to their legal obligations
- Targeted plain clothes operations to deter and detect offenders
- High visibility operations to deter offenders and keep the travelling public safe
- Safer Travel at Night - a proactive campaign at key times during the year (May, September and Christmas) to increase awareness of the rules around booking private hire vehicles, how to report any incident using a wide range of communications channels, including face to face engagement by police and enforcement teams
- Police and TfL investigation of all allegations, whether reported directly, through social media, customer complaints, operators or via a third party
- Processes in place for the police to notify us of allegations and investigations of offences involving drivers
Licensing and regulatory action
- Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks with the barred list on all drivers and applicants when they apply for or renew a licence - this is the highest level of DBS check available
- Introduction of the safety, equality and regulatory understanding assessment for PHV drivers and applicants - this sets out clear expectations for driver behaviour. We are consulting on extending this assessment to taxi drivers and applicants
- TfL licensing action against licensees where appropriate
- Regulatory requirement that all private hire operators must provide their customers with a booking confirmation and details of the driver and vehicles so a customer can confirm identity before they ride. Confirmation could be by app, text message, email or - if you're in a minicab office - paper receipt
- Specific conditions on individual PHV operator licences where appropriate. These include, but are not limited to, the requirement for specified operators to:
- provide independent assurance reports highlighting compliance with their obligations as a licensed PHV operator
- introduce and maintain robust systems and processes to ensure the legitimacy of documentation provided by drivers and to take appropriate action where fraudulent documents are identified
- ensure all safety-related complaints are assessed and actioned within 48 hours of receipt
- maintain appropriate systems, processes and procedures to ensure the identity of the driver
- provide regular reports to TfL to update on any safety concerns identified and the action being taken
- Dedicated TfL Taxi and Private Hire customer complaints process to encourage reporting of inappropriate driver conduct so appropriate action can be taken by TfL and/or the police. Also a reporting mechanism where an operator can also make a complaint about one of their drivers
- Asking Government for tighter controls on cross-border hiring as well as additional enforcement powers
- Implementation of several Statutory Standards published by the Department for Transport in July 2020 - these are aimed at further enhancing the safety of passengers. (See the standards document on the Taxi & private hire publications page.) We consulted on the best way to implement the remainder of the Statutory Standards - the consultation report and next steps will be published in summer 2023
- Introduction of the National Register of Taxi & Private Hire Licence Revocations & Refusals (NR3) database as part of the driver application process, ensuring nationwide vetting of potential licensees
- Introduction of a mechanism for sharing safeguarding intelligence with other local authorities and regulators in accordance with the Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Safeguarding and Road Safety) Act 2022
- Launch of an online Safeguarding Awareness course designed to improve drivers' understanding of their role in protecting children and adults at risk from harm and abuse.
- Consultation on the introduction of in-vehicle CCTV as a condition of licensing. This will be further considered once the Statutory Standards consultation and implementation (where appropriate) has been completed
- Safer travel communications and engagement to raise awareness of the dangers of using unbooked minicabs and encourage reporting of incidents
- Encouraging victims to report sexual offences and harassment to the police and any inappropriate conduct to TfL
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 MPS and CoLP in 2021.
Explanation of the data
Recorded crime figures
The figures in the Tables 1 and 2 are official figures based on police-recorded crime data and verified against TfL's Taxi and Private Hire Licensing database.
The figures in Table 1 show the annual number of sexual offences recorded by the MPS and 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 crimes recorded by the police during that year, regardless of when the offence took place.
Offences committed outside of London by London licensed drivers are investigated by the local police Constabulary for that area. These offences are not included in the Table 1 figures. We take licensing action when notified of a sexual offence by a London licensed driver, regardless of which area the offence took place.
The figures are for sexual offences committed by a licensed taxi or private hire driver and by 'bogus' drivers posing as taxi or private hire drivers against a fare-paying passenger that have taken place in London.
Sexual offences include offences such as rape, assault by penetration, sexual assault, exposure and administering a substance with intent of engaging in non-consensual sexual activity. The figures are broken down into rape and 'other sexual offences' which are the MPS sub-categories for sexual offences. Most of 'other sexual offences' are sexual assaults - intentional sexual touching of another person without their consent. This can include behaviour by the driver such as:
- Rubbing someone's leg
- Attempting to kiss or grope a passenger
- Grabbing a passenger's hand to kiss it
Table 2 outlines offences recorded by the police in 2021 that resulted in a suspect being charged.
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.
Guidance on the reporting of alleged or suspected criminal activity
There are various ways the police can be notified of an allegation of a driver committing a sexual offence against a fare-paying passenger. The most common ways include:
- The victim reporting the offence directly to the police
- A friend or family member reporting it to the police on their behalf
- The victim or friend/family member reporting it to us or the private hire operator, who then reports it to the police.
In late 2017, we, along with the MPS, issued joint guidance to all Private Hire Operators on reporting alleged or suspected criminal conduct to the police in an appropriate and timely way.
We recognise that operators may receive notification of a potential crime as a complaint. This may come from a passenger using their services, a driver or another member of the public. It is important that all reports of a potential crime are passed to the police immediately to ensure that they can investigate the incidents effectively and efficiently.
This guidance has resulted in more allegations being reported to the police which explains the significant increases in recorded offences for 2018 onwards.
2021 recorded crime figures
Table 1: Recorded crime figures for Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences 2002-2021
|Year||Rape||Other sexual offence||Total|
*The lower volume of offences recorded in 2020 reflects the significantly reduced demand for taxi and private hire services because of the pandemic and coronavirus restrictions in place at the time. This is also likely to reflect on some figures for 2021 but we will not be sure of the full impact until we see the 2022 figures.
Very few of the offences reported and outlined in Table 1 will result in a driver being charged with an offence. This is for a variety of reasons including the driver not being traced and identified, the victim not supporting the police investigation or prosecution or insufficient evidence to charge a suspect.
Some of the sexual offences reported are unbooked and the drivers can't be traced. The police are more likely to be able to trace and take action against a driver when they are licensed and the journey is booked through a licensed operator as there will be a record of the journey and the driver.
In most cases, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service will seek the victim's consent and full involvement in the police investigation to bring charges against the suspect. In cases where the victim makes a decision not to go through that process, the police will use any information they have obtained for investigative and intelligence purposes.
We, as the licensing authority, can still take licensing action against a driver even if police or judicial action is not possible. For example, this could include revoking licences, refusing licence renewals or warnings.
Information about the location, time of offence and any details about the suspect/s involved are used by the MPS, CoLP and us for intelligence-led enforcement and investigation.
Breakdown of drivers charged by licence status and journey type
We have worked with the MPS and CoLP to determine 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 2021 calendar year.
The Crown Prosecution Service decides if a driver will be charged based on whether there is enough evidence for the case to go before the Court.
In 2021, there were 3 individual drivers charged with an offence. One driver, who was licensed, was charged with 3 offences. These journeys were unbooked.
The breakdown of drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offence recorded in 2021 is shown in Table 2.
Table 2: 2021 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged
|Journey Type||Driver's TfL licence status at time of offence||Total offences by driver and journey type||Rape||Other sexual offences||Court outcome|
|Not booked||Unlicensed driver||0||0||0||-|
|Not booked||Licensed Private Hire driver||3||1||2||Convicted|
|Booked via operator||Licensed Private Hire driver||2||0||2||Convicted/Awaiting trial|
|Taxi||Licensed Taxi driver||0||0||0||-|
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 or revoke the driver's licence prior to charge or conviction, if we believe that is in the interests of public safety. In some cases, we may take licensing action immediately, irrespective of the results of the police investigation and subsequent court proceedings.
Of the 3 drivers charged with an offence, all were licensed private hire drivers at the time of the offence. One of the licensed private hire drivers committed 3 offences on unbooked journeys. The 2 other licensed private hire drivers were on journeys booked through a licensed operator.
Of the 3licensed private hire drivers:
- 2 have so far been convicted
- 1 is awaiting trial
None of the above drivers currently hold an active licence.
No taxi drivers were charged with an offence.
Private hire operators
The information in this section relates to offences where the journey was booked through a licensed private hire operator.
In total, 2 of the 5 TPH journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged took place on booked journeys.
Table 3 shows the private hire operator which took the booking for the journeys where a Private Hire-journey related sexual offence took place.
Table 3: 2021 - Breakdown of Private Hire Operators which have had one or more drivers charged with a Taxi and Private Hire-journey related sexual offence
On this occasion, 1 Operator was noted.
|Operator licence number||Awaiting court hearing or outcome||Convicted||Not guilty||Total number of offences||Total number of drivers|
|Bolt Services UK Limited/Bolt/Bolt Operations UK Limited||10088||1||1||-||2||2|
|Total number of offences||-||1||1||-||2||-|
|Total number of drivers||-||-||-||-||-||2|
The operator names listed in Table 3 are based on information recorded by the MPS as part of their 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 must give passengers a booking confirmation - this could be by text message, app, email or, if 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.
Passengers should always check before entering a vehicle. If the driver or the car picking you up is not the same as in your booking confirmation, do not get in the car.
Report an 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 such as groping, indecent acts or driver behaviour that feels threatening or intimidating to the police by dialling 999 if it's an emergency. Otherwise call 101 or use the Metropolitan Police Service online reporting tool.
You can also report any inappropriate driver behaviour such as comments that make you feel uncomfortable to us by calling 0343 222 4000 (Monday-Friday, 08:00-18:00) (TfL call charges) or by emailing TPHintel@tfl.gov.uk.
We take these reports seriously and will investigate all complaints against TfL-licensed Taxi and Private Hire drivers.
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 in progress in the event that a passenger wants to make a complaint or discuss any other matter about how a booking was carried out.
You can also make a complaint to TfL online.
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.
Figures for previous years
2020 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged
2019 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged
2018 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged
2017 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged
2016 - Taxi and Private Hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged
2015 - Taxi and Private hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged
2014 - Taxi and Private hire journey-related sexual offences where a driver has been charged