Taxi services in the Midlands have seen a rise in attacks on drivers, with some becoming too frightened to continue working, according to research published yesterday.
According to Taxiwise, a publication dedicated to improving passenger safety, brutal attacks on cab drivers are on the increase in parts of the Midlands including Coventry, Shrewsbury, Market Drayton in Shropshire and Rugby.
Figures have shown at least 13 reported incidents of theft or attacks on drivers in the country since April this year, including stabbings, robberies, severe beatings, racist abuse and vehicles set alight.
It said drivers have become increasingly frightened and want to see more safety measures such as attackproof centre divisions or CCTV cameras installed in their cabs.
One taxi firm in Shrewsbury has now spent £18,000 installing CCTV cameras and video recorders in its taxis.
The police have been offering safety advice to drivers and said they should remain in radio contact with their controllers at all times.
Other advice has included staying alert to observe the actions of suspicious passengers, not to have money on display, to keep doors locked when the cab is stationary and to be cautious of passengers who are vague about their destination.
Councils have also given support where they can, but taxi drivers feel more needs to be done to combat such crimes.
Taxiwise spokesman Matthew Cheyne said: "Taxi drivers are integral to the community, providing an invaluable service to the young, old and infirm.
"To many they are a lifeline, so why should drivers suffer abuse and attacks as they go about their business getting the public from a to b on a daily basis."