Cabbed crusaders: GMP and council train taxi drivers to be Manchester’s ‘eyes and ears’

Manchester taxi drivers are set to become the eyes and ears of the city, looking and listening out for signs of domestic abuse, female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, human trafficking and hate crime.

All 6,000 local cabbies will receive a new Safeguarding and Safety Handbook, produced by Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police, to help keep people safe from these crimes.

The campaign, supported by organisations representing the city’s hackney carriage and private hire drivers, will also help cabbies deal with suspicious packages and teach them the signs to look out for that passengers might be involved in terrorism.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “We’re working closely with the police to make sure our city is as safe a place as possible, and having a well-informed team of taxi drivers, who are out and about all the time, can only help us achieve that aim.

“Thousands of drivers work across our city at all hours of the day and night, and some of them may occasionally see things which give them cause for concern.

“This handbook is about making sure they’ve got the information they need so they know when to report something, and to make it as easy as possible for them to do should they need to do so.”

The handbook advises taxi drivers on what action they can take and where they can report any concerns, as well as providing website where they can obtain more information.

It provides examples of suspicious behaviour to look out for, such as picking up a young person who looks drunk and gets into the car with a visibly older person who asks for them to be taken to a hotel.

The cabbies are also given practical tips about making sure they stay safe while on the road, as well as advice about disability issues and etiquette while dealing with the public.

The handbook will be launched at the Manchester Taxi Aid Roadshow – an event aimed at helping drivers get the most out of the city’s booming tourism industry – at Manchester Central on Monday August 10.

All new drivers will receive a copy of the book, while questions about safeguarding will go on to be included in the city council’s skills test, which all prospective new drivers must pass before receiving a taxi licence.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Inspector Laura Marler said: “This roadshow is a great opportunity for Greater Manchester Police to meet with the many businesses and attractions across the borough.

“We are also going to deliver essential crime prevention advice and launch the new driver safe guarding handbook for Manchester’s private and Hackney carriage drivers.

“The handbook has been developed to raise awareness about reporting crime and is an opportunity to encourage drivers who are the eyes and ears of our community to report intelligence and any suspicious activity to police.”

Image courtesy of Mikey, with thanks.

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