Archive for the ‘Crime & Justice’ Category
Richard secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons last Wednesday night to discuss the safety of private hire drivers and their passengers.
Richard called for the debate following an incident in Bedford town centre in January in which a Kempston taxi driver was attacked and killed and another in which a taxi driver was assaulted when the passengers would not pay their fare up front.
During the debate, Richard called on the Transport Minister, Norman Baker, to consider using the “Proceeds of Crime Money” to introduce CCTV or screen shields in taxis and for the government to track more formally the statistics on criminal attacks on private hire drivers in order to use the information to make improvements in the sector.
“Private hire and taxi drivers are a vital part of our public transport system, and when it comes to their physical safety and the safety of their property, they deserve to be afforded the same protection as our bus drivers, airline staff and railway employees, but they are not.”
Citing the FoI request by the Bedfordshire on Sunday that showed that there had been 93 recorded assaults on drivers in the preceding twelve months, Richard noted that the local authority had estimated this was 2% of drivers being assaulted each year, stating “very few jobs have such a high rate of unprovoked violence.”
“Legislation on taxi licences dates from 1847 and 1976, so I welcome the Law Commission review and will be talking with them during their consultation.
“I was very pleased that the Minister, Norman Baker, had such a positive response to my calls for more to be done for driver – and passenger – safety. I hope the review of the legislation will suggest some initiatives to make our private hire and taxi sectors a respected part of our transport system, which is a status that both the drivers and the public deserve.”
For Richard’s full speech and the Minister’s response, please visit:
The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP, has outlined new plans by the Government to make it easier to evict problem tenants from social housing.
The plans, which are now out for consultation, propose to allow previous convictions for anti-social behaviour to be taken into account, so where the situation has not improved, landlords can act swiftly to evict problem tenants. This will shorten the often long and expensive process which requires landlords to prove again the antisocial actions of their tenants.
Richard welcomed the news. Since becoming MP, he has heard from a number of local residents who suffer from anti-social neighbours. These proposals will help to shift the balance back in favour of the law-abiding victims of nightmare neighbours.
Posted by Richard | Filed under Crime & Justice
The recent robbery in Bedford’s High Street shows that violent crime remains a real concern for our town. It is alarming that the latest Bedfordshire police figures show that only one in ten serious acquisitive crimes are detected. This is below target and also well below the level that reasonable people have a right to expect.
The changes to Bedfordshire police budgets are not helping. Policing Luton Airport is a major drain on our Bedfordshire Police resources. We are already under-resourced in Bedfordshire and it is wrong that the Government is proposing to cut funding for policing the airport further – by £380,000 – in next year’s budget.
I have real concerns about the low detection rates for serious crimes in Bedfordshire and misjudged budget priorities being imposed on our local police service. A Conservative government will reduce paperwork to enable the police to focus on police work – it currently takes over eleven and a half hours to process an arrest – and make police accountable to a local, directly elected individual who will set priorities for policing their local community