CSE – the Taxi connection

Readers of Rotherham Politics will be familiar with Adele Gladman, the researcher who attempted to alert Rotherham Council to the problem of gang rape and child trafficking as early as 2002 and who was rewarded by being implicitly threatened by police officers and ordered into diversity training by her employers, RMBC.

By means, I am not at liberty to divulge, I managed to obtain a glimpse of the unedited Gladman report and I was able to record a crucial section on the involvement of taxi companies in child sexual exploitation.

The report implicated six companies: Network, Speedline, Gold Star, Fleet, Metro, and Millennium. It went on to note that Gold Star, Fleet and Metro were all owned by Mohammed Riaz who at that time was living with a Mohammed Akuaq (?) and one Parveen Akhtar.

I think “Akuaq” is misspelt either in my notes or the original, I could find no record of it as a surname.

I have no similar doubt about the spelling of Akhtar, a name with which I was already familiar.

I have also discovered from a reliable source, that Fast 4’s taxis was one of the firms identified by the more recent research of Louise Casey, as being implicated in organised child sexual exploitation.

Giles Humphry

Previously: Akhtar…a spider at the centre of the taxi trade web

Note: There are some readers who seem to believe Giles Humphry to be a pseudonym for another? I can confirm Giles is not pretending to be anyone other than himself.

53 thoughts on “CSE – the Taxi connection

  1. “threatened by police officers” – the same this side of the road when recently reporting abuse by local authority officers who can depend on police protection

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  2. Are these police officers named and reported?…Something clearly wrong when law enforcement can still abuse and remain anonymous…. Dr Allan Billings is in attendance at some RMBC meetings and I don’t understand why these matters are not brought to his attention at the public forum… See how Dr Billings responds under the watchful eye of the webcam and public gallery….

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    • The office of the police commissioner knows. Their answer is that they cannot interfere with operational matters. One incident went to the SYP discipline and complaints, who rejected the complaint when the officers lied. Then it went to the IPCC and the SYP D&C lied to the IPCC. On Appeal, showing that the officers lied, the IPCC upheld the appeal and remitted the issue to the chief constable, who passed on the issue straight back to the officers who were protecting the abusers ! This case concerned abuses of vulnerable women. There are also cases of abuses of children – same tactic whenever the local authority is involved and protecting the abusers. The real issue are brand protection, reputation management, damage limitation, and maintaining the status quo.

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    • I think Dr Billings has been on the case.

      Drew Review SYP 1997-2016

      ●The Home Office Research in Rotherham, 2000-2001

      In the course of this review I have also been able to speak to representatives of the University of Bedfordshire (47:) about their perception of these events. They added important details to my understanding of this episode. In evaluating the researcher’s work the University, too, had developed growing misgivings about the local commitment of the police and Council in Rotherham to tackle child sexual exploitation. The University decided to withdraw from the project and wrote an ‘Interim Progress Report’ to the Home Office to this effect, citing amongst other things their view that: [1] there was an absence of a specialist ‘vice’ or exploitation police unit in Rotherham; [2] agencies in Rotherham did not believe that they had a problem with child sexual exploitation; [3] agencies were not committing adequate resources to the project; and [4] agencies were demonstrating a judgemental attitude towards the girls who were being exploited.

      The Home Secretary made a commitment to the House of Commons in 2015 to review the reports the Home Office had received and the responses to these. The work to review this continues and so the Home Office understandably believes it would be inappropriate to make public their interim findings.

      47: The University of Bedfordshire was created in 2006 by order of the Privy Council, following the merger between the University of Luton and De Montford University’s Bedford campus.

      http://www.drewreview.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/SYP030-Final-report.pdf

      Everyone was told, even the home office!

      Let’s see what they come up with.

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  3. Wearing my cynical hat:
    Are the named companies being investigated by either the NCA and/or any of the special operations groups or are we going to be fobbed off with the usual verbal diarrhea about “Lessons have been learned/Tighter procedures are in place” etc.etc.?
    Why are some of these companies still operating in Rotherham? It is not difficult to suspend or revoke an operator’s PHV licence.
    Powers to grant driver / operator licences are contained within Section 51,Section 55 and Section
    59 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (the Act).
    The Local Authority shall not grant a licence to drive a hackney carriage, private hire vehicle or an
    Operator’s Licence unless they are satisfied the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold such a
    licence.
    Section 62 of the Act allows the Licensing Authority to suspend, revoke or refuse to renew an operator’s licence if the applicant/licence holder has been convicted of an offence under or non-
    compliance with the provisions of Part II of the Act; or grounds of any conduct on the part of the operator which appears to the Council to render him unfit, or due to any material change since the licence was granted in any of the circumstances of the operator on the basis of which the licence was granted or any other reasonable cause.

    It is not rocket science.

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    • Colin I’d look at Section 77 also, it’s not one way traffic.

      Ultimately the magistrates licence taxi drivers, all papers in order local authority can commit themselves to licence a driver, anything questionable in query into “fit and proper” licensing board to revoke or suspend, and answerable to magistrates.

      Looks like a very regulated profession.

      Which brings me round to the following:
      Sexual harm prevention orders (SHPO/SOPO), nothing proven doesn’t look like a way out anymore.

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    • The late Councillor Aubrey Senior was chairman of the Licensing Board from 1999 up to is death in 2006. After a complaint was made that his fellow Labour councillor Jahangir Akhtar, ( a notorious race-card player) who had kicked and punched totally, innocent diners in a restaurant into needing hospital treatment, was not a fit and proper person to convey members of the public around Rotherham. Senior merely admonished him. There was not even a suspension of his licence. A prime example of Rotherham Labour councillors looking after one another and never mind the safety of the travelling public.

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  4. Section 77 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976

    Appeals.
    (1)Sections 300 to 302 of the Act of 1936, which relate to appeals, shall have effect as if this Part of this Act were part of that Act.
    (2)If any requirement, refusal or other decision of a district council against which a right of appeal is conferred by this Act—
    (a)involves the execution of any work or the taking of any action; or
    (b)makes it unlawful for any person to carry on a business which he was lawfully carrying on up to the time of the requirement, refusal or decision;
    then, until the time for appealing has expired, or, when an appeal is lodged, until the appeal is disposed of or withdrawn or fails for want of prosecution—
    (i)no proceedings shall be taken in respect of any failure to execute the work, or take the action; and
    (ii)that person may carry on that business.
    [F121(3)Subsection (2) of this section does not apply in relation to a decision under subsection (1) of section 61 of this Act which has immediate effect in accordance with subsection (2B) of that section.]

    My understanding of Section 77 is there is nothing to prevent a LA suspending/revoking a PHV operators licence even though it can be appealed. During the appeal process it needs a LA (in this instance RMBC) to get its act together and present all the evidence it has available, not ‘lose’ it or pay any heed to the Guardianista’s and their pathetic bleating about ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘diversity’
    There is, as far as I’m aware enough evidence in both the Jay and Casey reports to begin the process to suspend/revoke operators’ licences.
    The negative publicity about these companies should also be enough to drive them out of business if the political will is there and Read and Co.(and the Commissioners)are serious about a ‘fresh start’. (That phrase has a hollow ring to it considering ‘Not Fit for Purpose’ Beck was promoted?)

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    • Drew Report

      The succeeding investigation, Operation Czar, was launched in January 2010 while Operation Central was still running. It centred on a group of about nine girls and 3 perpetrators. For various reasons the operation did not lead to any prosecutions (54:) although Child Abduction Notices were issued and Taxi licenses revoked. No Learning Lessons Review was conducted after this second operation and it was wound up in March 2010. A further operation, Operation Chard, ran from September 2010 to July 2011 but despite gathering 180 witness accounts from 20 girls and arresting 15 alleged perpetrators I am told that the Crown Prosecution Service felt the evidence was not robust enough to provide a reasonable chance of a successful prosecution.

      54: Jay refers to professional jealousies between youth work and social work in Rotherham, Jay (2014) para 9.12, another account I received pointed to the failure to engage with, and win the confidence of, the witnesses in Czar.

      CPS! ” evidence was not robust enough to provide a reasonable chance of a successful prosecution”.

      Am I going mental:
      Prevention orders/Abduction notices can be given out by

      CPS
      Police
      Courts
      LA’s

      And for the love of God, can anyone tell me if a prevention order gets you on the sex offenders register.

      I know even a caution gets onto an enhanced DBS check.

      Something weird is happening, and I know what it is, the thing is I want the next whistleblower to be knighted.

      The Truth

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      • Colin spot on

        “My understanding of Section 77 is there is nothing to prevent a LA suspending/revoking a PHV operators licence” I’d add to this drivers as well

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  5. interesting fast four is mentioned – only reason it interested me is because i remember one of the owner’s sons at a british muslim youth event last year iirc (bmy is muhbeen and his wellgate mates as the inner circle anyway) talking against cse and gave a speech on what basis i dont know..

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    • Actually I would advise men not to insist on Rotherham licensed cabs so as to leave them for women and girls. If there’s no CCTV take the details of the driver/car (ideally a photo, at least of the number plate) and let Rothpol name and shame. Unless you are taking a cab home.

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      • Curious George.
        ‘take the details of the driver/car (ideally a photo, at least of the number plate) and let Rothpol name and shame.

        If only it were that simple:
        Privacy actions in the UK have been concerned with publication rather than simply the taking of a photograph, but a recent decision of the ECHR suggest that simply taking a photograph may, in some circumstances, infringe the right. Photographers are therefore advised to be careful when taking photographs intended for some kind of publication, even when the subject is in a public place.
        Photographs of people may also be subject to the Data Protection Act, which controls the “processing” of “personal data”, that is, data relating to an individual and from which the individual can be identified. There has not yet been a court case that has determined whether or not an image of a person, without any other identifying information, would be caught by the Act, so photographers should be aware of the possibility.
        The Act also contains an exception for processing undertaken with a view to publication of any journalistic, literary or artistic material, if certain criteria are met.

        It would be a public service if this blog was allowed to publish photographs of PHV’s VRN’s which are affixed to vehicles not registered in Rotherham.

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        • Thank you. So what’s your opinion on whether we can publish the licence plate number with or without a photo? Also if a photo of the driver was published would it be a civil or a criminal matter if they complain under one of those laws?

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        • Just to cover Rik’s back, what are the possible defences against any action that might be brought? Eg though I’m no fan of the HRA surely it allows the human rights of young female taxi passengers some weight?

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        • They are now registering in other areas aswell as Rossendale Rotherham can’t do much as they aren’t registered with them they can’t even stop them to check them, report them to where they have registered and copy Rotherham in this will show on the back plate which borough they have registered with where the reg plate is

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  6. Pingback: Taxi ‘legal loophole’ could put children at risk in Rotherham | Rotherham Politics

  7. @ Curious George.
    I’m not an expert nor do I claim to be however in this instance the PHV driver may be able to bring a claim under Section 5 of the Defamation Act 2013
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/26/section/5/enacted

    But an owner/moderator of a blog could claim a defence;
    Section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 1996 provides that “In defamation proceedings a person has a defence if he shows that (a) he was not the author, editor or publisher of the statement complained of, (b) he took reasonable care in relation to its publication, and (c) he did not know, and had no reason to believe, that what he did caused or contributed to the publication of a defamatory statement”. This defence should protect a web publisher from defamatory user comments providing the publisher has taken “reasonable care” and has no involvement with or knowledge of the statement. “Reasonable care” may include having terms of use for the forum/comments section of the site which prohibit defamatory posts. In any event, you should act promptly to remove defamatory posts when you become aware of them.
    http://www.seqlegal.com/blog/dealing-defamatory-posts-your-website-forum-or-blog

    Whereas your hypothetical passenger (‘young female’) is covered by both the ECHR (Article 5 and Article 8-I think) and the Equality Act 2010.
    We have gone way,way off topic………………………..

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    • Thank you very much. I wasn’t intending to go off topic. I was thinking more in terms of saying that the publication of a driver’s photo was to protect the human rights of potential female passengers.

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  8. Taking a photo of the taxi reg plate will not contravene any legislation . It is not covered by legislation but should be held on to in case of potential enquiries relating to the vehicle by a legal entity (e.g. Police,/ Licensing Authority). I had a visit today asking if they could view my home CCTV to assist into a serious assault enquiry. If the request is made under RIPA there is no offence provided it is done legally.

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    • So everyone send in photos of the plates and don’t forget the company name. I suspect we may see some overlap with the companies named in this article. Call it a wild guess.

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    • ‘Taking a photo of the taxi reg plate will not contravene any legislation’.
      I think you misunderstand; I agree taking a photograph is not in contravention of any law but what I said was publication of the photograph may possibly contravene the taxi driver’s right to privacy.
      Blame Tony Blair, he forced this euro legislation onto the British people.

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      • There’s definitely something wrong with a law if you can’t know in advanceyou are breaking it or not. Since we obviously don’t know let’s just do the right thing and let the judges do their worst. Presumably you can’t be jailed for a law that, to all intents and purposes, has been invented after the event?

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  9. Reputations are too easily tarnished – to restore public confidence the police should not unconditionally believe every alleged rape victim?

    Suspected sex offenders have rights the police must respect | Bernard Hogan-Howe | Opinion | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/10/accused-sex-crimes-anonymous-until-charged-reputations-police-complaint

    We don’t want anyone to get away with it, anonymity, check sexual offences act 2003

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    • If the police don’t want to name suspects, fine. But don’t let them tell us not to if they are covering up for rapists. Name and Shame is the last option left to those denied justice. If an allegation is false they can sue for defamation. Fiat justitia ruat caelum!

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      • Majority of historical abuse has been sent above SYP, and no way, I would compromise the NCA investigations.

        Fair trial needs to be the order of the day, I cannot see victims not being able to get the justice that they so desperately need, because of no fair trial given at the cost of a perpetrator being identified, and arguably any such being used to quash any future court date.

        Lessons learnt operation Stovewood.

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        • Agree with you on your main point Hotspot. Not often we have someone so knowledgeable on the law, what are your views on the potential role of the Reynolds Defence in such cases?

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      • Fiat justitia ruat caelum!
        ‘Let justice be done though the heavens fall’
        Equally;
        iuris ignorantia est cum ius nostrum ignoramus
        ‘it is ignorance of the law when we do not know our own rights’
        and more importantly-
        semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit
        ‘The necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges’

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        • Well quite. That’s why we have defamation law. But in a situation where the police refuse to act the survivor has a moral right to tell their story and you haven’t cited any evidence it would be a criminal offence. If there is evidence that the police will act then to name and would be unwise and risk the perp getting off (though many have been convicted after public exposure) but often publicity is the only way to get them off their arses.
          Handwriting about vigilantism is rendered moot when the state protects rape gangs. The legitimacy of the state is founded on the covenant of collective security. We delegate our natural right to execute retribution on those who hurt ourselves and our families to the state in return for a pledge that they will administer justice. This covenant has been ripped up by the State’s protection of the rape gangs that have claimed tens of thousands of victims across the UK. It no longer has the moral authority to punish those who take justice into their own hands. Not advocating that by the way. But I would as a juror vote to acquit anyone acting to protect their children after trying and failing to secure official action.

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        • Where SYP continue to protect abusers Joint Enterprise is indicated, at which point ultra vires action to protect the abused becomes a duty.

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  10. Back on topic…………………………
    The thread starter names six private hire companies which are implicated in the Gladman report and as far as I am aware there has been no publicity to say whether or not any of these companies have been censured or had their operators licences suspended or revoked?
    It might be they are subject to one or more criminal investigations in which case any publicity could be determined as prejudicial but equally so RMBC could, if evidence is provided suspend an operator’s licence until such time any investigation is completed.
    We are all aware that Akhtar is not alone in playing the ‘race card’ but justice has no concept of race,colour,creed or religion and IMV claims of ‘racism’ should be dismissed if and when evidence is produced of inappropriate and/or criminal behaviour. (RMBC please note)

    There are simple criteria for PHV operators to follow:
    Are your drivers qualified and have they undertaken customer care courses
    Are your drivers registered with RMBC
    Are your vehicles fitted with the necessary equipment requested and approved by RMBC
    If not,why not?

    British HGV drivers,’Bus drivers and ‘Black Cab’ drivers are required to hold certain qualifications and are also subject to frequent checks.
    Why should PHV companies-in Rotherham- be exempt?

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    • Re criminal investigations of companies, can criminal charges (other than corporate manslaughter) be brought against companies?

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      • Companies can be charged with fraud,tax evasion,vat evasion and can be charged with breaches of the Health & Safety Act and breaches of the Data Protection Act.
        Employees are also covered by the Equality Act, Employment Rights Act and National Minimum Wage Regulations. To name a few.

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        • OK. Didn’t know. Thanks. They should be looking at these guys for any and every violation, though prosecution for child trafficking would be my strong preference if the evidence is there.

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        • Curious George, one that they can never get away with:

          A Duty of Care, whether as an operator or driver, after all that is the business they’re in.

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  11. Rik

    Reynolds Defence.

    I would concede to the fact, Andrew Norfolk beat us all in regards to the public interest publication.

    Anonymity was kept and findings generalised, establishing a picture for authorities and was in public interest.

    The line we seem to be going down indirectly is trial by media, although it seems to be in public interest, the result could be very unsavoury.

    Let’s see what we could be causing as an effect to the law, a simple breakdown of the directions that will be taken.

    Binary system 

    It is open to the Court to find on the balance of probabilities either that an allegation is true or that an allegation is false. There is no room for a finding that it might have happened.

    Burden and Standard of Proof

    The burden of proof lies on the party who makes the allegation, it should have been the Local authority but as many victims are now adults, it in itself seems to be a minefield. This is a lower category and most likely to be used in historical cases.

    The balance of probabilities’ is the standard of proof used in all civil court proceedings, so includes care proceedings.

    What is going to be a big problem is a pool of possible perpetrators, as this is not as clear cut as familial abuse ie lone identifiable known perpetrator. We are talking about multiple perpetrators.

    Only a Judge can rule on a “pool of possible perpetrators”, this would be from a balance of probabilities.

    The other standard of proof used in criminal cases is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, which is a higher standard due to the very serious consequences that can follow a criminal conviction. I personally don’t believe this will be used in historical cases unless it can be proven to the CPS.

    Findings of fact must be based on evidence not speculation.

    We don’t want to follow police failures from the past, even if it means we on this social media page may be “trawling” to the same effect, and in no way am I suggesting that victims shouldn’t be taking any of type of evidence forward, only by default causing the “trawling” effect to take place, trawling (dragging) along other people who may piece together a fabricated case on circumstantial evidence for personal gain/recognition, and creating a collapse of a case for genuine victims.

    CPS: (47)
    For example, in some cases involving allegations of abuse in a care home, it had been police practice years ago to contact all, or a significant proportion of, those who had been resident in the institution at the time that the offences were alleged to have taken place, rather than taking an intelligence-led approach towards identifying potential victims. 
    This practice of “trawling” was criticised heavily in court and led to a number of cases collapsing, but contacting potential victims on a firm intelligence or evidence led basis is not prevented.

    Guidelines on Prosecution cases of Child Sexual Abuse : Legal Guidance : Crown Proseuciton Service
    http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/child_sexual_abuse/#a12

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  12. Pingback: Children are being put at risk because ministers are failing to protect whistleblowers | Rotherham Politics

  13. ‘is for the authorities to do their job!’
    Could be tricky;How do we define ‘Authorities’?
    Commissioners?
    NCA?
    SOCA?
    SYP?
    RMBC?

    I have not seen or heard any single agency is taking the lead role into CSE investigations and IMHO there should be. A lead co-ordinator is always needed in complex investigations and inquiries to oversee and collate information and to lead and direct.
    It is pointless to have 3 or 4 simultaneous investigations running in parallel without central control and oversight.

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