Swine Corporate Cops now trying to take control of unregulated Rickshaws in the West End
170-year-old law traps rogue rickshaws in West End crime blitz
30 March 2012
Police are using 19th-century laws designed to tackle the “furious riding” of horse-drawn carts to deal with rickshaw drivers.
A string of pedicabs were impounded last night at the launch of a six-month blitz on West End crime, as officers called for them to be banned.
Hundreds of police were involved in high-profile patrols under the Met’s Operation Trafalgar, launched to present the West End in its best light in Olympic year.
They aim to target brawling drunks, drug dealers, pickpockets, unlicensed minicabs and dangerous rickshaw driving. Police also manned a chill-out tent in Piccadilly for drinkers to sober up before making their way safely home.
By early evening, seven rickshaws were taken off the street using the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, which prohibits “riding or driving furiously such as to endanger the life or limb of any person, or to the common danger of the passengers in the thoroughfare”.
For groups of parked rickshaws, a section of the Act criminalises anyone who “causes any cart or public carriage to stand longer than is necessary”.
Officers were issued with handbooks on how to apply the law. Chief Superintendent Simon Ovens, in charge of policing the West End, explained: “There are no laws that deal specifically with rickshaws — they are unregulated. So we are using the tools available. If we have to go back two centuries to apply the law, we will.
“I would like to see them taken off the road altogether. There is no protection. They put passengers at risk — particularly passengers who have had too much to drink — and the drivers are unqualified.”
Police sniffer dogs are also being deployed to snare people carrying drugs on the Tube. By early evening, 10 warnings were issued and one arrest was made for cannabis possession. To speed police response during the crackdown, a new Met control room has been established to direct officers to any sign of trouble.
Cameras are being used which are capable of identifying vehicle number plates, with the aim of keeping known criminals out of the West End, while pubs and clubs that fail to tackle
violence, excessive drunkenness or drugs could be closed.
Deputy assistant commander Steve Kavanagh said: “They will get their warnings and we will close them down if they don’t follow the rules. It will be much more robust than it has been.”