UBER COULD be stripped of its private hire operator’s licence in the capital by Transport for London(TfL) over police claims it did not report serious criminal allegations made against a number of its drivers.
A Scotland Yard detective has alleged that Uber failed to inform the police of two allegations of sexual assault against one driver and a further road rage incident involving another which turned into a suspected firearms offence.
The Metropolitan Police also told TfL that an increasing amount of time was being taken up with allegations made against drivers working for Uber.
Of 128 offences involving minicab drivers investigated by Metropolitan Police detectives over a four week period in June and July of this year, 79 involved Uber drivers.
TfL director of surface operations Peter Blake said that complaints made by the police would be a key feature in the decision as to whether or not Uber’s operator’s licence would be renewed in September.
Mr Blake added:
We take any concerns about the reporting of sexual and violent incidents very seriously. Any delay in reporting serious crimes is totally unacceptable and we have been in contact with the operator to ask them to respond to these concerns.
Inspector Neil Billany, of the Met Police’s taxi and private hire unit, had previously written to TfL’s head of taxi and private hire licensing, Helen Chapman, on April 17, highlighting, “significant concern that Uber has been made aware of criminal activity and has yet to inform the police”.
My concern is two fold. Firstly, it seems that they (Uber) are deciding what to report (less serious matters / less damaging to their reputation over serious offences) and secondly, by not reporting to the police promptly, they are allowing situations to develop that clearly affect the safety and security of the travelling public of London.
The complaints made by the Metropolitan Police inspector were uncovered by the Liberal Democrat chairwoman of the London Assembly transport committee Caroline Pidgeon, who said: “The failure by Uber to report any alleged crime is shameful”.
A spokesman for Uber said the company was surprised by the alleged complaints and said that it stood by its good relationship with the Metropolitan Police force. He added: “Uber does not routinely report incidents retrospectively to the police on behalf of others. We advise those that have been involved to make a report themselves and then assist the police with any subsequent inquiries. We believe the choice of whether or not to make a police report should sit with the victim.”