Investigation into taxi ‘hostage’ claims underway

Taxi lamp lit generic
Image: Shaiith/Shutterstock

An investigation into claims a passenger in a taxi was held hostage by the driver is underway with investigators saying that the incident was perhaps “not quite as portrayed” in posts about it on social media.

During yesterday’s General Licensing Committee (1 February) cllr Leigh Coombs (Lib Dems, Shortstown) asked for an update on the incident reported by the Bedford Independent and widely shared on social media in January.

“I just wanted to ask whether or not the council had been made aware of that [indicent], and is that being dealt with by the council?” asked cllr Coombs.

Lee Phanco, chief officer for assessment, application and business support, confirmed that the licensing team were made aware of the claims on the day that the story appeared on social media.

“It is being investigated, we have been in touch with all parties involved and that process is ongoing,” he replied.

But, Mr Phanco also confirmed that the original post on social media would give the licensing team “very significant cause for concern” but that initial investigations appear to show a different turn of events.

“Obviously, I can’t go into detail in a public meeting, what I would say is actually having gone through some of the investigations that the circumstances are not quite as were portrayed.

“All I can say at the moment is that those concerns are less than they originally were,” he said.

Driver fired

Speaking to the Bedford Independent about the incident at the time, a spokesperson for the cab firm said they were treating the matter very seriously.

They said the driver had been dismissed and reported to the council. They also said their controller received a formal warning and will undergo further training.

It is not known when the Council will finalise its investigation.

Additional reporting by
John Guinn, Local Democracy Reporter

Keep Local news Alive in Bedfordshire