Sunday, August 13, 2017

Uber sex scandal as police accuse taxi firm of failing to report sex attacks committed by drivers

This is a story that has been waiting to break. Though overshadowed in recent months by the financial chaos, executive resignations, removal of the founder and CEO because of his increasingly erratic behaviour and ongoing battles with regulatory authorities, it was inevitable that news about the way Uber, supported by police authorities and mainstream media, have covered up news of sex attacks by their unregulated drivers of the unlicenced cabs that use the 'car sharing' app to operate illegally as taxis.

New feeds are reporting that Uber has been accused of covering up serious sex attacks by its drivers. Police say had the crimes been reported they could have prevented other sexual assaults from taking place.

As far as we know at the moment, the reports only connect to Uber's United Kingdom operation. London's Metropolitan Polce says the "safety and security" of the public has been put at risk by Uber failing to report crimes which have then escalated.

In one case a sex attack was not reported and the driver continued in his job and then went on to commit a more serious attack.

Inspector Neil Billany, leader of the Metropolitan Police's taxi and private hire unit, has expressed "significant concerns" that the firm is picking and choosing what crimes to report to the police to protect its reputation.

A company such as Uber, which has a licence to operate a cab service in London, but which operates only as a software app which allows people to hail cabs through their mobile phone, allows anybody to sign up as a driver, thous avoiding the extensive background checks officially licences London cab drivers undergo.

In a letter released under the Freedom of Information Act and leaked to the Sunday Times newspaper, Insp. Billany writes: Uber is "deciding what to report" and only informing police of "less serious matters" that would be "less damaging to its reputation".

He claims crimes police have not been informed of include six sex assaults on passengers, two public order offences and an assault.

"Had Uber notified police after the first offence, it would be right to assume the second would have been prevented," he wrote.

He said the victims had been given assurances by the firm that their attacks would be reported.

The letter was sent to Helen Chapman the Head of Taxis and Private Hire at Tfl.

Tfl has said it is "totally unacceptable" and says it will form part of a review into whether Uber's licence is extended. It was renewed in May and runs until the end of next month.

Uber responded with one of its usual evasive and self - justifying comments: "We were surprised by this letter as in no way does it reflect the good working relationship we have with the police. We advise people to report serious incidents to the police and support any subsequent investigations."