Mayor Marvin Rees met with taxi drivers outside Bristol Temple Meads station this morning to discuss the issue of hate crime.
Bristol City Council has teamed up with SARI, Avon and Somerset Police, the British Transport Police and taxi trade representatives to talk to drivers about their experiences.
The event was set up in response to the recent increase in hate crime in the city, which is a particular issue for taxi drivers, especially those working at night.
The aim was to make drivers aware of the help available to them from a range of agencies and to encourage them to report hate crime.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “It was very interesting to come down and meet some of the city’s taxi drivers this morning, and listen to some of the problems they experience on a regular basis.
“The council values the work carried out by Bristol taxi drivers in what are often challenging circumstances, particularly when operating in the night time economy.
“We want to support drivers and work with them to ensure that we have a first class service for visitors and residents.
“Taxi drivers are an important part of our night time economy, but they are vulnerable to crime in general and hate crime in particular.
“Together we must be clear that any form of discrimination or hate-crime will not be tolerated in our city.”
Some drivers currently have low confidence in agencies that can support them and therefore don’t report crime or hate crime unless it is serious.
Alex Raikes MBE, Strategic Director of SARI, said: “SARI has been working closely with taxi drivers, many of whom have reported hate crime or faced difficulties when trying to access services.
“We have, on behalf of taxi drivers, set up a working group with the council, Avon and Somerset Police, the British Transport Association and the National Taxi Association, as well as local solicitors and other agencies that can make a difference.
“This group has done a lot of fantastic work with drivers to promote reporting crime and hate crime; to try and prevent such abuse and to build better relationships.
“This outreach session is thanks to the commitment of the taxi trade and the above agencies and is all about us reaching out and trying the best we can to make a difference for this crucial part of our business community.
“Our taxi drivers help to make Bristol a safe and successful, vibrant hub for all those who live, work, study and visit here. They are a community that deserve all the respect and support they can get. They should not have to tolerate any form of hatred or attack.”
Any taxi drivers looking for further information or support can contact SARI on 0117 942 0060.