November 30, 2015
Hartlepool Borough Council is set to end its taxi marshal scheme as part of a cost-saving exercise.
Reduction in Crime
The scheme was initially set-up eight years ago with funding from the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership. Since then, there has been a significant reduction in late-night alcohol related violence.
Taxi marshals have been rolled out in towns and cities across the UK over the past number of years. In Hartlepool, registered security staff are employed to patrol the taxi rank on Church Street to help keep orderly queues and to prevent drunk and disorderly behavior.
Despite the positive outcome, council bosses say they’re looking to axe the scheme, which costs £8,000 per year, due to major budget cuts.
Taxi Trade Say Money Well Spent
“The scheme is believed to have contributed towards the significant reductions to violent crime.”
The taxi trade supports the scheme saying, that since its introduction in 2007, it has promoted a safer community for party revelers and a more welcoming and enjoyable place to be on a Saturday night.
The Safer Hartlepool Partnership, made up of Hartlepool Police Crime Prevention and Hartlepool Anti-social Behavior Unit, is fighting to save the scheme and is urging the council to rethink its plans to withdraw the service by July 2016.
A report from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership states: “The Taxi Marshalling Scheme is highly valued by those who have a role to play in the management of the night-time economy and, while its overall contribution is difficult to quantify, it’s believed to have contributed towards the significant reductions to violent crime that have taken place in recent years.”
Support from All
Support has been received from taxi drivers and the police service, as well as members of the public. The Safer Hartlepool Partnership’s, community safety team says it’s difficult to measure the benefits but that the crime statistics coincide with the initiation of the scheme – surely this can’t be a coincidence?
The report further states: “Indeed, there is a level of demand for the taxi marshalling Scheme to be enhanced by having it extended to cover the Victoria Road area in order to service the licensed premises situated there and which, at the current time, is the most popular part of Hartlepool’s NTE.
“Violent crimes against people in the night-life economy area have fallen significantly since 2006 but remain a concern and, whilst the actual number of licensed premises has also fallen considerably, serious incidents do still occur and initiatives such as the taxi marshalling Service play their part in making the town centre a safer place to visit and enjoy.”