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A Dozen London Uber Drivers Were Charged Following Accusations Of Rape Or Sexual Assault Last Year

Transport for London has released figures that show how many cab drivers were accused of – and convicted of – rape and sexual assault last year.

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Matt Alexander / Via PA

There were more allegations of sexual assault and rape reported to have taken place in cabs last year than in any other year since 2002, new Transport for London data has shown.

Police investigated 164 reports of allegations of sexual crimes against cab passengers in 2016, TfL said. There were 136 in 2015 and 2014, representing a 20% increase.

TfL has for the first time revealed police convictions broken down by cab operator, which shows Uber had the greatest number of drivers charged.

In total, 31 individual drivers across all cab companies were charged with 34 offences in 2016, the figures show. Three of them were reported to have been unlicensed drivers, and the remainder were private hire cars. None were London black-cab drivers.

Out of 25 individual minicab drivers charged for the offences, 13 – more than half – worked for Uber, which is currently battling to win its licence back from TfL after the body revoked it on the grounds the firm was not "fit and proper" to hold one. It can continue to operate until all appeal processes have been exhausted.

To date, five of these Uber drivers were cleared of the charges, five were found guilty, and the remainder of cases await a court decision.

An Uber spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: "We take any allegations of this nature very seriously, immediately preventing drivers from using our app and supporting the police with their investigations.

"All drivers who use our app in London are licensed by Transport for London and have gone through the same enhanced DBS checks as black-cab drivers. Our GPS technology also means that every trip – more than two million in London each week – is electronically tracked and recorded."

TfL told BuzzFeed News there had been a reduction in people using unlicensed operators and that Uber, which says it has 40,000 drivers is "bigger" than other operators.

In contrast, TfL estimates there are 25,000 black cabs.

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s head of transport policing, said: “No one should ever be subjected to sexual behaviour while travelling in a minicab or taxi and, of the tens of millions of taxi and private hire journeys made in London every year, the vast majority go without incident.

"Where an allegation is made, we take it extremely seriously. We work with the police to investigate reports, bring offenders to justice and push for the toughest penalties possible.

“We expect the highest standards of behaviour and any sexual behaviour by a licensed driver towards a passenger is unacceptable. We would urge anyone who experiences this to report it to TfL and the police.”

Contact Sara Spary at sara.spary@buzzfeed.com.

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