A MULTI-AGENCY operation targeted taxi offences at Gatwick Airport this month.
Police, local councils, the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA), and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) came together at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal to crackdown on taxi offences.
On Wednesday April 6, Sussex Police, also working with licensing officers from the London Public Carriage Office (PCO), and Crawley, Adur and Worthing, Reigate and Banstead, Horsham, and Reading councils, stopped and checked 75 taxis or suspected unlicensed taxis.
VOSA staff issued five immediate prohibition notices for vehicles with defective tyres, preventing them being driven further without replacements and fresh MoT certificates.
The local authorities and PCO reported a further 27 drivers for various taxi licensing offences and also issued one immediate prohibition notice.
UKBA officers arrested two men. One was operating a licensed taxi but was in the UK on a visa permitting him only to work as a waiter, and the other was in the UK as a student. Their vehicles were towed away by police, and can be recovered on payment of £150 towing fee plus daily storage costs.
Operation Tout enhances the safety of passengers and drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles coming to Gatwick Airport by enforcing compliance with local authority licensing regulations and checking vehicles are safe to be used on the road.
Police, Gatwick Airport and partners encourage travellers to be confident in the use of lawfully operated taxis to and from the airport.
PC Richard Shakesheff said: “Our operation, which is carried out regularly, shows how different authorities working together can help keep the travelling public safe. This issue is not unique to Gatwick. As at any other major transport hub is really important for people to know that they are using a licensed taxi prior to travelling. Unlicensed taxis may be in an unroadworthy condition and not insured to carry passengers for hire. Their drivers have not been vetted by councils and may not even have a driving licence.
“When taking a taxi from Gatwick Airport, unless you have pre-booked, always use a London Gatwick Airport approved taxi. These are conveniently located at both terminals.”