1. ITV Report

Taxi drivers hold 'go slow' protest over safety fears

Health and safety is main issue

Commuters in Leeds faced disruption this morning as hundreds of private hire taxi drivers travelled in a convoy from Kirkstall to the city centre.

They're protesting about what they say is a failure to protect drivers and their passengers against violence and also at penalties being issued to them for using bus lanes without any real warning.

Asif Afzal is the chairman Leeds Private Hire Drivers and says he fears there could be a fataility if nothing is done.

Asif Afzal

Kids have been stoning taxi drivers in the estates. We've had over 115 reported incidents which have been logged with West Yorkshire Police and we've had no reaction.

We don't want to hang around and wait until there's some sort of fatality .... because it's only a matter of time before we have a fatality.

– Asif Afzal, chairman Leeds Private Hire Drivers

Chief Inspector Nick Ireland, of the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds, said incidents of stone throwing and other similar crime and anti-social behaviour were completely unacceptable - and officers were working with the drivers and partner agencies to put long-term problem-solving measures in place to tackle the issue.

A number of key hotspot areas have been identified, primarily in East Leeds, and we are working with our neighbourhood teams to target those areas to deter any further offences. We will be working to identify those involved and will take appropriate action, including exploring the full range of control measures available through Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team.

At the same time we will be working with schools and youth organisations to educate young people around the dangers and risks of this type of behaviour which not only impacts on the drivers but also affects a service provided to the communities in which those young people live.

– Chief Inspector Nick Ireland, of the city’s community safety partnership Safer Leeds