Fortunately, crimes committed against private hire and taxi drivers are still, in the UK, relatively uncommon.
However, they’re far from unknown and the occurrences seem to be increasing. For example, in 2015 over 1,400 assaults against taxi and private hire drivers were recorded by the police.
At Aston Scott, our chauffeurs’ insurance may assist you in coping with some of the financial implications arising from such a crime. If you’d like to know why not call us now on 03300 085045 for an immediate consultation?
Top tips for your safety as a Chauffeur or Private Hire driver
Of course, the financial implications are only one aspect of the situation and others, such as injury and trauma, may be more serious. So, here are a few top tips for chauffeur security that might help to keep you safe:
- if your vehicle permits it, install a screen between you and your passengers;
- when picking up or dropping off, only open your driver’s window enough to allow sound to pass through – not hands;
- install security cameras in your vehicle. Make sure that these are clearly noted for passengers in order to avoid possible privacy law infringements. Don’t rely on amateur solutions that involve your smart phone;
- if you’re recording images for security reasons, be certain that the recording device and storage medium is locked securely away or a criminal may simply remove it and the evidence it contains;
- if you’re threatened with violence – you may want to just pay up and don’t resist. The sums involved are likely to be relatively modest and insignificant when compared to your safety;
- don’t accept severely inebriated passengers;
- male chauffeurs may want to be cautious about taking hires from unaccompanied and inebriated females unless security cameras are recording the journey. If you have legitimate concerns over the safety of yourself or the woman concerned you may want to think about refusing the hire. However try not to leave the woman in a vulnerable position, call the police and ask for their assistance;
- do not comply with passenger requests to go off-road into car parks, warehousing complexes or dark alleys etc.;
- keep a first-aid kit in your vehicle and know how to use it. It could save the life of yourself or a passenger and in some cases, it might be a requirement of the local licencing rules and/or your private hire insurance;
- where possible, take only credit or bank card payments. Try to avoid carrying or dealing in lots of cash because it could make you a target;
- light social chat with passengers is fine but try to avoid discussions/debates of any type, and particularly those that relate to religion, politics, sex, race and ethnicity. Politely change the subject;
- try not to become aggressive or threatening – even if you’re provoked. The classic here is the passenger who suddenly decides you’re overcharging. It can be better to compromise than to have a confrontation in your vehicle where you or they might get hurt and your vehicle damaged;
- if you’re using a central communication facility, keep your despatcher fully informed of any changes to your planned journey or location;
- if they don’t already exist, you may like to agree a series of secret key phrases with your despatcher that would sound perfectly innocuous to a passenger, but which would secretly convey to your base that you have a problem and can’t speak freely.
We hope these tips have proved useful.
As a reminder, at Aston Scott, we offer a range of chauffeurs’ insurance policies that could help protect your business. If you’d like to know more about those, why not call us now on 03300 085045?