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Local taxi drivers invited to become White Ribbon Ambassadors

Taxi drivers across the city are being invited by Milton Keynes City Council to become White Ribbon Ambassadors.

At Full Council last week, the Lib Dems proposed a motion encouraging all private hire and hackney carriage drivers licenced by the City Council to become White Ribbon Ambassadors and to further support the campaign by displaying White Ribbon stickers in their vehicles.

This comes as a significant number of women reported that they had experienced inappropriate behaviour or language from drivers whilst travelling in taxis across the city.

Currently, all drivers licensed by the City Council undertake mandatory safeguarding training to ensure they have a better understanding of the abuse suffered by children and vulnerable adults prior to obtaining their license.

The motion that was passed unanimously, will now see the Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulatory Services work with officers and the Regulatory Committee Chair to improve mandatory safeguarding training for drivers so that it includes domestic abuse and equality training.

Newport Pagnell South Councillor Andy Carr, who proposed the motion, said:

“I want to stress that not all taxi drivers are offensive towards women, but there is a percentage that are. Women and girls have the right to feel safe in our city and as a licensing authority we should do all that we can to address this. Going forward, we want to ensure drivers get the correct training before being granted a license.”

Milton Keynes City Council currently licenses approximately 1,500 drivers to provide private hire and hackney carriage services for residents in the city.

However, once a license is acquired, a driver can operate anywhere in England as long as they are licensed with an operator in a corresponding local authority area. This means that a large proportion of drivers operating in the city are licensed by other Councils.

The City Council will also work with operators to encourage their drivers to promote the White Ribbon campaign and write to Transport for London and other local authorities whose drivers operate in Milton Keynes to encourage them to take a similar approach.

Councillor Sophie Bell, who represents Shenley Brook End, added:

“It’s concerning to hear that a high number of women have experienced inappropriate behaviour from drivers, but as all women know it’s not uncommon to be made to feel uncomfortable by offensive remarks or behaviour. I’m glad that positive steps will now be taken to raise awareness of the campaign amongst drivers, as this will allow women and girls to feel safe when travelling in taxis that display the White Ribbon.”

White Ribbon is a global campaign that encourages people, especially men and boys to challenge behaviour and change the culture that leads to abuse and violence against women.

Positive action by the City Council led to it becoming White Ribbon Accredited in 2022. It offers guidance and training for colleagues, provides housing and support services for women and children who need to flee violence and abuse and has a range of measures to improve safety on the streets and in schools for local women and girls.

The City Council has also been establishing a network of male ambassadors and female champions among its employees and councillors to promote the message and raise awareness.


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