The total number of sexual offences in London’s taxi and private hire cars rose from 136 in 2015 to 164 in 2016 – and almost half of those convicted were Uber drivers, according to Metropolitan Police data.
The police figures, compiled by Transport for London, show that of the 164 sexual offences, 30 were rape, up from 28 in 2015. The figures take into account incidents of rape, attempted rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault.
Not all of the offences resulted in a charge, but of the 34 that did, 26 cases happened in licensed private hire cars that were booked via one of 13 different operators. No licensed black cab driver was charged in 2016.
In total, twelve drivers were convicted, of which five worked for Uber. One driver was convicted of two offences. Five individuals, including three Uber drivers, are still awaiting a court hearing.
The statistics support TfL’s decision to suspend Uber’s license to operate in London in September, citing health and safety concerns. None of the drivers who were charged with an offence currently holds an active private hire driver’s licence, TfL said.
In a statement, the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association said the figures show that TfL was right to not relicense Uber. “One attack is one too many,” said general secretary Steve McNamara.
“Over 50% of the drivers charged with sexual assault in 2016 were working for Uber. These statistics clearly show that the Mayor was right not to relicense Uber over passenger safety concerns, after the Metropolitan Police raised ‘significant concerns’ about Uber’s selective reporting of ‘serious crimes’,” he added. “The courts must stand by the Mayor’s decision and take these dangerous drivers off our streets.”
Uber said it prevented drivers who face charges from using the app. “Our GPS technology also means that every trip is electronically tracked and recorded,” a spokesperson said.