News release from 24/05/2022
Taxi driver loses licence for inappropriate behaviour
A taxi driver has lost his licence for inappropriate behaviour towards a lone female passenger he was transporting from Cambridge to Ely.
42-year-old Tariq Mehmood from Rampton Drift, Longstanton, first appeared before South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee in December 2021, after being referred by a Licensing Officer.
This came after the Council received a complaint from a member of the public who had been travelling on their own with Mr Mehmood in his private hire vehicle during a late-night journey from Cambridge to Ely in October 2021.
The complainant said that, as soon as the journey started, Mehmood started making comments about how “gorgeous” she was, questioned her relationship status, and when she revealed she had a boyfriend, told her to leave him and he would look after her. He also asked her to get into the front passenger seat next to him several times.
The passenger felt so vulnerable during the journey that when Mehmood insisted on getting her phone number, she gave it to him. He then called her and told her to save his number. Because of this, and his other behaviour, the passenger recorded some audio during part of the journey. When this audio was played back, Mehmood could be heard saying that she had broken his heart when she wouldn’t get into the front seat.
Mehmood attended a Council interview but denied all the allegations, including the comment he was recorded making. When the audio was played back to him, he said he couldn’t remember saying it.
His private hire licence was immediately revoked on the grounds of public safety and the South Cambridgeshire District Council Taxi Licensing Appeals Panel refused his appeal at a hearing in December 2021.
Mr Mehmood then appealed to the Magistrate’s Court, where a hearing took place on 19 May 2022. The Court decided that on the balance of probabilities he was not a fit and proper person, and the appeal was dismissed. The court awarded the Council £800 in costs.
Cllr Brian Milnes, Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing and South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “This highly disappointing tale is in no-way representative of our local taxi trade where journeys are completed safely and professionally with rare exception. The South Cambridgeshire taxi trade overall has an excellent reputation.
“However, as residents quite rightly expect, we take our taxi licensing responsibilities incredibly seriously and so do not hesitate to intervene when need arises. Holding a taxi licence is a privilege and means the public are putting their trust, and safety, in our drivers. In this case, the Court said that the driver did not take his safeguarding responsibilities seriously and his behaviour clearly fell well short of what is expected of a licensed driver. If you are in a taxi on your own, we would always recommend that you sit behind the driver. It’s also good practice to be aware of details of the vehicle and driver, such as the driver’s badge number, vehicle plate number, colour, make and model, as well as the journey date, time, and locations. If you think you may need to make a complaint and it is safe to do so, make a video or audio recording as this will help with any investigation.”
Residents can report an issue with a licensed taxi driver, vehicle or operator.