An operation to test the working practices of taxi drivers in North Herts has taken place in Letchworth, as part of work to help safeguard women and girls.

On Friday, March 10, four female students from North Herts College took part in a test purchasing operation to see if taxi drivers would accept lone female passengers requesting destinations which were within the minimum fare distance.

The operation was to look at whether drivers were following their license conditions and professional codes of conduct by taking young woman for short and unprofitable distances during the evening/night-time.

The Comet: Volunteers from North Herts College took part in the operationVolunteers from North Herts College took part in the operation (Image: Herts police)

If they refused the fare, in preference for a longer, more profitable journey, the woman would be left to walk home alone or waiting at the rank.

In total the students tested eight separate taxis, all of whom accepted the fare and adhered to the terms of their license.

“This was a very successful operation, and I am delighted with the outcome,” said Letchworth Neighbourhood Sergeant Lisa Perks.

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“It is good to see our local taxi drivers are well aware of their operating guidelines and are willing to put the welfare of passengers before profit.

“The girls were second year students studying ‘Uniformed and Public Services’ at North Herts College. Their participation in the operation will go towards their course work, but we are very grateful for their assistance and that of the college.

"I would also like to thank our licensing colleagues at North Herts Council for their help with this operation.

“This operation is part of our ongoing strategy to protect women and girls from violence, test compliance around basic child protection procedures, and raise awareness of child sexual exploitation (CSE).

"In November 2022 we implemented a test purchase operation in hotels in Stevenage and North Herts around CSE, which identified good practice as well as some training needs in certain locations. We are planning more preventative safeguarding operations in the future.”