The number of alleged sexual offences committed by taxi or private hire drivers in Lancashire has more than doubled in the last three years.
Data obtained by the Post reveals that 25 sexual offences by taxi drivers, private hire drivers, or anyone pretending to be a hired driver, were reported between April 2016 and March 2017 across Lancashire.
READ MORE: 3,000 dangerous violent and sex offenders living in Lancashire
This was a rise from 11 from April 2014 to March 2015 and 21 from April 2015 to March 2016, showing a total of 57 for the last three financial years.
Mark Selley, of Preston Hackney Carriage Association, said: “I cannot speak for all of Lancashire but in Preston, we have rigorous Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks in place to make sure that drivers are all of a certain standard.
“All the drivers undertake a DBS check and these are done for everyone who is also renewing their licence.
“As well as this, if drivers while licenced transgress in any serious way they will then have their licence taken off of them.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We are committed to securing justice for all victims of crimes of this type and we will continue to work closely with partners like the Crown Prosecution Service in order to achieve that.
“Whenever anyone takes the brave step to come forward to the police making serious allegations of a sexual nature it is absolutely right that we carry out a thorough investigation.
“We believe these figures demonstrate victims’ confidence in coming forward and reporting these crimes to the police, safe in the knowledge that we will deal with them professionally and sensitively.”
Figures obtained by the Guardian newspaper reveal that the overall number of alleged sexual offences committed by taxi or private hire drivers has risen by 20 per cent since 2014.
The figures show there were at least 337 reported assaults between April 2016 and March 2017 in England and Wales; a rise from 282 in 2014/15.
Katie Russell, a spokesperson for Rape Crisis England and Wales, said: “It’s an alarming figure but it is always hard to know whether the increase is due to a rise in crime taking place or an increase in sexual assaults being reported.”