Licensing bosses will review taxi safety screens in Wolverhampton following the tragic death of driver Anakh Singh in October last year.
Singh, 59, was was found with fatal injuries in Nine Elms Lane, Park Village, on October 30, and was pronounced dead at the scene. He was an employee with Wolverhampton-based ABC Cars.
Last month, Tomasz Margol, 35, appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court in connection with the incident. He denied a single count of murder and was remanded in custody for trial at a later date, reported the Birmingham Mail.
Meanwhile, Oliver Bhurrut, spokesman for Wolverhampton city council, said the review was not directly linked to Singh’s stabbing.
“As a licensing authority we constantly review driver and passenger safety and ways this can be improved,” he said.
A fundraising campaign has been launched to support Singh’s family following the incident. The initiative raised over £11,700 so far against a target of £2,000.
“Anakh Singh, private hire driver was at work driving his taxi when he lost his life. This is an awful time for his family, our thoughts are with his family. The donations will go directly to Anakh’s family to help support them at this difficult time,” said the campaign page.
Greg Bickerdike, licensing manager of Wolverhampton city council’s regulatory committee, has said that the Private Hire Trade Working Group have expressed a desire for Driver Safety Enclosures (DSE).
“The committee has already permitted vehicle proprietors to install CCTV within their vehicles, if it complies with the council’s taxi CCTV policy, newer equipment is now available to protect drivers. This novel equipment is not covered by licensing services’ current policies. These are typically rigid plastic enclosures which are installed in a vehicle to segregate the driver from the passengers,” Bickerdike was quoted as saying by media outlets.
“The council acknowledges the protective features of these products but recognises that amateur installation and/or unapproved products result in increased risks, particularly in relation to road traffic collisions.”
He revealed that a six-week consultation on driver safety enclosures is being requested due to the sensitive nature of the issue.
Once approved by the committee, service users (licence holders and applicants), The Hackney Carriage Trade Working Group, The Private Hire Trade Working Group, other licensing authorities, National Association of Licensing Enforcement Officers (NALEO), Institute of Licensing (IoL), Black Country Magistrates Court, Department for Transport (DfT), West Midlands Police, disabled groups, equality diversity and inclusion team will be consulted.
According to reports, council’s regulatory committee will discuss the matter on January 11.