FOI request detail

Assaults But Taxi Drivers and Their Outcomes

Request ID: FOI-3695-2324
Date published: 31 January 2024

You asked

Good Afternoon, Please you could advise the number of complaints/ reports you have received regarding taxi drivers and assault towards members of the public and the anonymised outcomes of these complaints. Clarification received 19/01/2024: Please could the timeframe be in the last 6 months?

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-3695-2324

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 17th January 2024 asking for information about assaults by taxi drivers.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. 

Specifically you asked:

Please you could advise the number of complaints/ reports you have received regarding taxi drivers and assault towards members of the public and the anonymised outcomes of these complaints. Please could the timeframe be in the last 6 months.

To ensure the safety of the travelling public, taxi driver and private hire vehicle (PHV) driver applicants, as well as those licensees seeking to renew their driver licence, must meet a range of criteria to ensure they are of good character. This is assessed on the basis of an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check submitted as part of a licence application, information provided by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and any other information that comes to our attention. This information would be considered in relation to our TPH Driver Policy: https://content.tfl.gov.uk/taxi-and-private-hire-policy-july-2023.pdf.

Licensed drivers are obliged to notify us within 21 days if they have been disqualified from driving or have been cautioned, charged, or convicted of any criminal offence - including any road traffic offences. This requirement is clearly stated in the letter that accompanies all driver licences. From 1 July 2024, licensees will be required to inform us of any arrest and release, charge, caution or conviction within 48 hours.

Turning to your request, I can confirm that we hold the information you require. However, I am afraid it is not possible to source the information to answer your questions within the costs limit for answering FOI cases, as set out under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act. Under section 12, TfL is not obliged to provide information if it would cost more than £450 to determine if the requested information is held, and to then locate, retrieve of extract it from elsewhere. This is calculated at a rate of £25 per hour, equivalent to 18 hours work.

In this case the exemption applies because the information has not been collated before and there is no quick, efficient or automated way of doing so. I have liaised with our Customer Services team who inform me that we have received 671 complaints in the last 6 months that could potentially fall within the scope of your request. These 671 complaints are shown in the table below with the keyword against which they have been logged. Note that a complaint about an “assault” may not necessarily have been logged with that specific keyword, but could potentially have been logged against any of the keywords listed below:
 
Row LabelsCount of Transaction Number
Taxi410
Assault23
Inappropriate Behaviour216
Intimidating/Threatening Behaviour92
Offensive Behaviour31
Racial/Homophobic Abuse41
Sexual Harassment 5
Violent Behaviour2
Private Hire Vehicle260
Assault16
Inappropriate Behaviour153
Intimidating/Threatening Behaviour47
Offensive Behaviour12
Racial/Homophobic Abuse24
Sexual Harassment 7
Violent Behaviour1
TfL (general)1
Inappropriate Behaviour1
Grand Total671

To determine which of these complaints were specifically about an assault against a member of the public, and to find out the outcome, we would have to manually review them all. Given the numbers involved, this is not possible within the £450 limit.

In order to bring your request within the costs limit you may wish to reframe it to narrow its scope. For example, you may wish to restrict it to those cases listed above that are logged with the keyword “assault”. However, note that this would not necessarily capture all the cases relevant to your request, as some that are about an assault may have been logged against another keyword. Note also that reports of assaults may have been made to the police rather than TfL, and we would not hold that data.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely,

David Wells
FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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