Transport for London (TfL) is encouraging people to take and share a #HomeSafeSelfie and pledge to never take an illegal minicab home, as part of its latest Safer Travel at Night campaign.
People are encouraged to help stop the use of un-booked, illegal minicabs by posting a selfie - a photo of themselves via social media - when they're home safe after a night out using the hashtag #HomeSafeSelfie. TfL wants to tap into the trend of friends and particularly young women texting each other to say they are home safe and is urging them to also post a selfie and pledge that they won't take illegal minicabs home.
TfL's Safer Travel at Night (STaN) initiative is a partnership between the Mayor, Transport for London, Metropolitan Police Service, the City of London Police and the British Transport Police set up to improve the safety of travelling at night through industry regulation and licensing, enforcement and education.
The 2014 Safer Travel at Night campaign aims to make people aware of the dangers of picking up un-booked minicabs off the street, such as robbery and sexual assault. In 2013/14 the number of cab related sexual offences in London fell by 15 per cent compared to the previous year, with specific rape offences down 30 per cent.
However, one incident is too many and the Safer Travel at Night initiative is dedicated to driving this down further. Over 700 arrests were made in 2013/14 for illegal touting for hire, and over 8,000 since 2003. Through Safer Travel at Night and #HomeSafeSelfie TfL wants to remind everyone that:
Steve Burton, Director of Enforcement and On-street Operations at TfL, said; `Working closely with our policing partners we work throughout the year and particularly over the busy festive period to tackle illegal touting. We hope that through this #HomeSafeSelfie social media campaign and print and online advertising, we will encourage people to stop using un-booked minicabs, which are both illegal and unsafe.'
Chief Superintendent Matt Bell, from the Metropolitan Police Service Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: `Thousands of young people in the capital take cabs home after nights out, but it is not worth the risk of getting into un-booked minicabs picked up off the street. Any minicab journey that isn't booked is dangerous and puts you at risk of sexual attack. I would urge everyone to help us encourage safe journeys. They can help spread the word through a #HomeSafeSelfie and further reduce illegal minicab drivers and promote safe travel at night.'
A number of celebrities are supporting the Safer Travel at Night and #HomeSafeSelfie campaign including singer-songwriter, Little Nikki, and Cuckoo and Doctor Who actress, Holly Earl, who have already posted selfies to their Twitter and Instagram followers. Other celebrities including X Factor star, Amelia Lily and Some Girls actress Adelayo Adedayo are also keen to encourage their fans to stop using unbooked minicabs and will post their selfies soon. TfL is asking people to get involved by sharing their selfies via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the campaign hashtag. TfL offers a free-to-download Cabwise app, which provides a quick and easy way to book a licensed minicab and get home safely. For more information on Safer Travel at Night or TfL's Cabwise app visit www.tfl.gov.uk