Last Saturday a group of youths in Redditch, near Birmingham, dragged a taxi driver from his seat, then assaulted and racially abused, leaving him with facial injuries, including a fractured eye socket and bruising to his face. A man and four youths have since been arrested on suspicion of assault.
The attack brings back haunting memories of the murder of Kuldip Singh Sekhon in November 1989. Sekhon was a part-time mini-cab driver, part-time worker at Heathrow Airport, and was stabbed to his death 58 times.
The race attack in Redditch is not unique. Other recent racist incidents again taxi drivers have included :
10 March 2012: A Romanian taxi-driver in Plymouth was racially abused and attacked by a man who split open his lip and caused over £1,000 damage to the vehicle.
23 March 2012 :Muhammed Hussain, from Holme Slack, Preston, was spat at, punched in the face, grabbed around the neck and called racist names. His attackers even threatened to cut off his beard.
Shaun Burns, 19, and Callum Tennant, 20, were later convicted of racially aggravated assault and criminal damage.
3 May 2012 : Raja Khan from Nottingham was punched inside the car before being hit repeatedly until he fell to the ground when he tried to escape.
19 May 2012: Harun Shah Zaman, a taxi driver in Leicester, was brutally beaten and robbed by four passengers. One of the passengers headbutted him and another punched him in the face before the other two (female) passengers joined in the assault.
30 May 2012 : Sarwar Amir was attacked in Newton Abbott in Devon. Sarwar said he was punched so hard he felt as if he had been hit by a car. Wills, 23, and Cronin, 21, were jailed for 11 months.
18 September 2012: Mehar Dhariwal, a taxi driver in Bedford wasracially abused and fiercely beaten by 27-year-old Daniel Rogers after asking him to pay a cab fare upfront.
7 September 2012: Jack Alexandrovic, a Polish taxi driver, in Cirencester in May 2011 was attacked by Darren Simpson, 47. Simpson was later convicted of racially aggravated assault.
In some ways times were different in 1989, for example the police refused to ackowledge any racial motive, yet somethings have not altered. Taxi drivers are still at the forefront of facing racism, often without any strategic response from agencies. Despite the massive advancements in technology little help is provided to taxi firms by any local authority. Last year Welsh taxi drivers complained to the police about the lack of action taken to support them. According to the chairman of the Cardiff Hackney Association (CHA), Mathab Khan, 731 CHA members were ready to walk out claiming police do not respond quickly enough to the continuous attacks, violence and damage to their cars that drivers face.
Taxi drivers are delivering a public service and we urgently need to develop a proper strategic response to ensure that they can work safely.