Cab drivers have called for new measures to protect themselves including security cameras, safety screens, a police hotline and a city-wide blacklist of violent customers.
The calls came as about 200 private hire drivers, operators and union representatives met with police, licensing chiefs and city councillors to discuss their safety fears following the murder of cab driver Mohammed Arshad two weeks ago.
There was a minute’s silence in memory of the 36-year-old father-of-three who, according to the meeting chairwoman Coun Salma Yaqoob, was a “completely innocent man killed in a most disgusting and brutal way”.
His employer of six-years Steve Attwood, owner of A-Cars of Cotteridge, called for firms, via a police liaison officer, to share intelligence on customers.
He said: “Over the last three years we have compiled a blacklist of 596 names – 58 of them have been violent towards drivers, another 77 have been abusive, racist or attacked the car. The remainder were fare dodgers or other incidents.
“But we need someone to put our list out to other firms and share this information so they do not become a problem for someone else.”
Driver Mohammed Sawaz said complaints had not previously been taken seriously by police, something which they had recently publicly acknowledged and apologised for.
Wasim Zaffer, of the Unite union representing cab drivers, said that private hire adds £3 billion a year to the UK economy.
“It should stop being treated like a third-rate industry. There are more than 5,000 drivers in Birmingham, we need to have our concerns heard,” he said.
Two senior West Midlands Police officers agreed to take the message back to the “very top” while city council head of licensing Pete Barrow added: “Security cameras, safety screens and convex mirrors will all be allowed by the licensing committee, but there is still the problem of cost. We will see if there is funding for at least a contribution to the costs.”