Police to launch new crackdown on Lisson Grove gang causing misery for taxi drivers
PUBLISHED: 16:36 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:46 21 November 2018
The Met has sought to reassure cabbies in St John's Wood and Lisson Grove by saying it is taking "covert and non-covert" action against a gang in Lisson Grove targeting taxi drivers.
Unite branch officer Peter Rose, who is also the secretary of the London Cab Ranks Committee, has been told police are looking at gang activity in the area. The group has asked all taxi drivers to report incidents where they have been attacked by gangs in Lisson Grove.
Mr Rose said: “I’ve been a taxi driver for 26 years, and it has always been a bit of an issue in Lisson Grove. It did improve during the late 1990s and early 2000s but it seems the area has returned to its old ways.”
Cab driver Tony Casey is one of those who regularly operates in the area, but he said it is a “no-go” area for most taxi drivers.
“It hasn’t improved in the last few weeks, and in a way it’s got worse with how inventive they’re getting. It is still worrying us massively.
“We’re told we don’t have to have fares from there. It’s a no-go area. I’m not letting this one go until it’s safe again for cab drivers,” he said.
Images have circulated on social media in the last few weeks of young men allegedly part of the gangs that target drivers,
Transport for London has also reminded drivers that they can turn down fares if they feel unsafe.
Mr Rose has blamed the rise in violence in the estate on the government, saying it is an effect of austerity.
“There’s fewer police officers, and after closures to police stations, there’s only one police station open in each borough overnight. That’s if when you get there you can convince officers to be interested in what’s going on.
“You shouldn’t take social media as gospel, but there’s a lot of drivers talking about it on there and it keeps coming up again and again. They need to report it so police can take action,” he said.
A Met Police spokesperson said: “We are currently unable to comment on any ongoing operational activity but officers who regularly patrol this area are aware of a number of offences of theft from cab drivers over the last few months.
“When such crimes are reported they will be investigated appropriately to secure evidence to support a prosecution.”