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Taxi rank mayhem a result of 'badly behaved minority'

Taxi rank mayhem a result of 'badly behaved minority'

Thursday 10 January 2019

Taxi rank mayhem a result of 'badly behaved minority'

Three recent court cases involving violent crime and anti-social behaviour have centred around the taxi rank at the Weighbridge in St Peter Port, so we're asking if it is time the area had greater controls?

With Judge Cherry McMillan saying recently that the taxi rank should exist in a state of equilibrium where taxi drivers should be able to work "without fear of being exposed to this behaviour," some people have called for an increased police presence.

Taxi drivers concede that those misbehaving are in the minority but with one central point where revellers gather at the end of a night out it can be a recipe for disaster, although an unavoidable one.

In the last three months of court proceedings the island's main taxi rank has been the site of incidents on average once a month. These included grown men fighting over a taxi while another took his anger out on the perspex itself. In August of last year a perpetrator dubbed the taxi rank flasher was also arrested for his misconduct in the area.  More recently a woman was knocked unconscious there.

"You wouldn't want this spread out across the Town trust me, it's good there's only one spot," said president of the Guernsey Taxi Driver's Federation, Leon Gallienne.

Gallienne, Leon

Pictured: Leon Gallienne is President of Guernsey's Taxi Drivers Federation. He said a small minority of people cause problems and ruin it for everyone else. 

"When there's alcohol there's usually a certain amount of trouble, the rank here on the town, in general terms, the majority of the people are well behaved. But there's a minority group and on occasions the police do have to act. In general terms there is a pretty good police presence but it's all according to how many people there are out on the night, all Saturday nights are different. Unfortunately it's always the minority group that spoil it for the majority because they can't take alcohol," said Mr Gallienne. 

"The more police you have on the ground the better that is but there's only a certain amount they can do, sometimes people are hellbent on trouble, especially when its fuelled by alcohol and unfortunately that is the way of the world. We have hundreds if not thousands of people using the town facilities, it's just a few who decide to ruin it for those of us who work and play in this environment.

"There's not major fights every weekend but probably too regularly. I think it goes with the territory, people come down here to enjoy themselves, to drink and some people meet up with people that they've got grudges with and that helps fuel the situation. I don't think with any amount of police power on the ground, if people want to cause trouble they will cause trouble. 

"You have people who are obnoxious to taxi drivers, you have people, I've heard it from a number of drivers who for whatever reason, think they can run off without paying, that has to be stamped out but also people that sometimes can appear to get physical with drivers, that is not tolerated, we're here trying to do a job to get them home safely,' he said. 

taxi rank

Pictured: The Weighbridge Taxi Rank. 

St Peter Port Constable Dennis Le Moignan said increased Police were really the only way of addressing the issue.

"It's very difficult, the instances appear to be late at night when people come out from the pubs and clubs. The only thing you can do is to increase the policing and they've already got a lot to do. Really they're the only ones who can deal with it. I don't know how else the taxi rank could be laid out, you've got to have a way for people to form an orderly queue. That sort of thing works in other places. It's down to the people themselves. Perhaps the proprietors of the pubs and clubs could pay people to be a special constable to make it a bit safer," he said. 

What do you think? 


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