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Taxi Marshals

by msecadm4921

Over the years we’ve reported taxi marshal schemes in towns and cities around the UK, often using private contract stewards or guards.

Now police in Wiltshire, with the support of the county’s Community Safety Partnerships, are introducing a pilot taxi marshal scheme in four of the county’s busiest town centres. This follows similar initiatives in Bristol, Bath and Bournemouth, which organisers say have had an effect in reducing crime surrounding the night time economy of these cities, which involves drinking at pubs and clubs.

Starting on Friday, August 3, in Chippenham, New Road, at the taxi rank opposite the Club 11 night spot, the pilot scheme will be rolled out in Salisbury in Milford Street and Devizes in the Market Place on Friday August 10. The pilot will go ahead in Trowbridge on Friday August 17 in Castle Place.

This is believed to be the first time taxi marshals have been introduced into market towns and is part of partnerships’ focus on reducing violent crime and anti-social behaviour in the county.

The project will run from August to October on Friday and Saturday evenings and again from December to January, covering Christmas and the New Year. It is being financed by the county’s Safer And Stronger Communities Fund which is allocated money annually by the Government.

Two marshals will supervise a specific taxi rank in each town from, 11pm on Friday nights until 3am Saturday mornings and from 11pm on Saturday nights until 3am on Sunday mornings, during the months of the pilot scheme.

The marshals are Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) licence holders. They will wear fluorescent jackets with : SAFE IN WILTSHIRE, TAXI MARSHAL, across the back and will also wear an armband displaying their SIA badge.

The company which has won the contract to provide Taxi Marshals for the pilot is Ensure Security Limited. Managing Director Paul McDonald said: "We have experience in this area as we have subcontracted personnel for recent taxi marshal initiatives in Bristol and Bath. All our staff complete SIA basic training and we then do further training within the company in conflict management, situation diffusment."

Wiltshire’s marshals will have radios which put them in contact with the Pub Watch network and the CCTV monitoring offices of the town they are working in. They have no powers of arrest, but are present at the taxi ranks, primarily to maintain orderly queues and to recognise and defuse conflict.

Glynn Hookings, Wiltshire Police Insp Community Affairs, said: "In general Wiltshire’s licensed premises are well run, but people are occasionally ejected from these places and then arrive at the taxi ranks which can be a potential flash point for anti-social behaviour and other crimes. By their mere presence, the marshals will help to reduce such incidents and will provide reassurance to both taxi drivers and their passengers. They will help people to feel safer and to actually be safer when they have had a pleasant night out and are looking to make their way home."

Chippenham taxi driver, Jim Mitchell, 42, of local taxi company Home James, commented: "Introducing the marshals is a very good move. I am eager to see how it works in practice. Anything that helps people get home safely has to be a good thing for Wiltshire."

Wiltshire’s Community Safety Partnerships, include among others, the County Council, North Wiltshire District, West Wiltshire District Kennet and Salisbury District, Councils.

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