Freedom Information Request reveals Uber drivers in London are accused of sexually assaulting passengers once every 11 days
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that officers have received 32 allegations of rape or sexual assault involving Uber drivers over 12 months, the equivalent of nearly three times a month.
The Sun newspaper approached a total of 14 police forces to ask for information on sexual attacks involving Uber drivers in the year to February 2016. Only two police forces responded to the Freedom of Information Requests, which means that the true figures UK-wide are unknown.
The Metropolitan Police dealt with a total of 154 allegations of sex attacks involving taxi and minicab drivers, private chauffeurs and rickshaw riders in the year to February. Of those alleged attacks reported to police, 32 involved Uber drivers — the equivalent of about one every 11 days.
Uber driver Aliriza Kurt, 42, was jailed for 18 months in January for sexually assaulting a young woman in his car after picking her up from Brixton Tube station.
A spokesman for Uber said: “All drivers who use the Uber app in London are fully licensed by Transport for London and have undergone exactly the same enhanced DBS checks as black cab drivers, teachers and care workers.”
However, this statement to someone outside the industry may seem genuine, but it is not as clear-cut as Uber states. Based on the fact that all private hire, taxi drivers and chauffeurs need to have a criminal records check, this only applies to UK born residents.
Any person wishing to enter the minicab trade who is seeking asylum, are an immigrant or from a country outside of the UK, criminal records checks are exempt. This may sound shocking to a member of the public, but this should be of serious concerns to the wider public.
A driver therefore can obtain a licence with a letter from a friend who states that the said person is “fit and proper” and of good character. LicensedTransportUncovered.com strongly disputes Uber’s claims that ‘all drivers who use the Uber app in London have undergone exactly the same enhanced DBS checks as black cab drivers, teachers and care workers’, because this is not factually correct. This is not a restricted to Uber drivers, but it is a major problem UK-wide.
Uber’s spokesman concluded by saying: “We take any allegations of this nature very seriously – we work closely with the police on their inquiries and prevent drivers from using the app while investigations take place. Our GPS technology also means that every trip – more than one million in London each week – is electronically recorded.”
A Met Police spokesman said: “The MPS has a dedicated Cab Enforcement Unit, part of the Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), which is responsible for enforcing the law relating to taxis and private hire vehicles in London.
“It works closely with the Safer Transport Teams and local borough police on joint operations to tackle touting and other cab related offences, with a specific focus on reducing sex offences in cabs through detection and deterrence activities.”