Cars

Taxi boycott threat after ‘drunken revellers’ attack drivers and smash cars in Cambridge

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Angry taxi drivers have warned they may take their cars off the streets of Cambridge after an explosion of alcohol-fuelled violence in the market square.

The Cambridge Hackney & Private Hire Association, which represents cabbies in the city, said some of its members were injured by “drunken revellers” in the early hours of Saturday morning (September 30).

Drivers were hit in the head and face and taxis parked at the rank were damaged by kicks and punches, the association said.

A statement to the New s, released by the association’s vice chairman Paul Bradley, said police did not respond when asked to help.

The statement said: “We regret to inform of a serious incident in Cambridge market square in the early hours of Saturday, September 30.

“Although we are still collating reports from our colleagues, it appears that at approximately 3.15am a group of ‘drunken revellers’ attacked both drivers and vehicles while they were waiting legally at the taxi rank within the market sqaure.

“There have been physical injuries to our members, which include severe bruising to the head and face including lacerated lips – some of these injuries required later hospital treatment. These injuries occurred through both punches and kicks and were the result of an extremely violent and dangerous attack.

“Damage to vehicles included dents and scrapes from kicks and punches and broken wing mirrors. The cost of the damage will clearly run to several hundreds of pounds.

“Our members were thankfully assisted by their colleagues and some brave members of the public to whom we extend our thanks as this was a very dangerous situation, which could have spiralled further but for their timely intervention.

“Several telephone calls were made to the police through the 999 system, however, the response has not been acceptable. Our understanding is that there was no police presence despite repeated calls and the advice after waiting three hours was to seek an ‘alternative option’ and no time for a response was given.

“This response from the police is not in any way acceptable and we will be expecting some clarification from them as to why we and the public have been let down so badly.

“Previously we have worked closely with Cambridgeshire Police and appreciate that at times their resources are stretched, however, when we do need their backup, as was clearly the case here, we should expect a far better level of service. It is not in any way acceptable that we rely solely upon CCTV.”

The statement added: “There were widespread calls from our colleagues that there should be a withdrawal of service from midnight next Friday (October 6).

“We have currently averted this – however, the level of discontent toward the police is high and we will be seeking robust assurances that we will be protected.

“Our role for the police is dispersal – we take the revellers home for them – however, if we cannot work within a safe environment then we will have to review our working practices to protect our friends, members and colleagues.”

At the time police were holding a 24-hour Twitter marathon to highlight the issues they have to deal with and tweeted they had received calls about violence in the market square and were seeking resources to cover.

The News has contacted the police about the incident and a senior officer has said they will comment later.

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