Safer Leeds is enlisting the help of taxi marshals in the city centre for the festive season to ensure order is kept in taxi ranks.
The marshals are part of a range of measures being put in place by Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Police, who are working with Health and Business Against Crime in Leeds (BACIL) to ensure safety and reduce crime in the city centre.
The marshals will be located at three taxi ranks across the city -- Leeds Railway Station, Call Lane/Corn Exchange and adjacent to the Oceana nightclub on Woodhouse Lane.
Each rank with have three marshals working from 10.30pm - 3.30am each Friday and Saturday night up to and including New Years Eve.
The marshals will ensure that members of the public queue up in an orderly fashion whilst waiting for a taxi.
The taxi marshals will be in close contact with West Yorkshire police to report any issues that need police attention. They will also be working alongside the recently introduced street marshals who are patrolling the areas outside nightclubs as well as Police Community Support Officers and police volunteer constables.
Cllr Peter Gruen, Chair of Safer Leeds and Leeds City Council's executive board member for community safety said:
"We know from experience that taxi marshals make a real difference to safety in the city.
"We want people to come into Leeds at night and we want them to have a good time. Taxi marshals make it easier to do that, so I would like to thank our partners in the police, the NHS and Business Against Crime who have helped us fund the marshals this year.
"It's important that people know they can enjoy the Christmas season and be safe at the same time, so just a reminder to people to always use a licensed cab and queue up where there are taxi marshals. "
Chief Inspector Vernon Francis, of City and Holbeck Division, who is responsible for policing the city centre, said:
"Leeds city centre continues to be a very safe place to enjoy a night out. The reassuring presence of the taxi marshals in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year will complement the work we and are partner agencies are doing to help people enjoy the season safely."
Grace Lee, Business Crime Coordinator at Business Against Crime in Leeds said:
“The taxi marshal scheme is seen as a vital part of Leeds night time economy management; our members see a direct benefit from it in terms of dispersal and customer safety. BACIL support the scheme whole heartedly and hope for its every success on the run up to Christmas and the New Year”
Brenda Fullard, Head of Healthy Living and Health Inequalities for NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds says:
“We support this initiative because we know it will be effective in reducing injuries. It will also get people safely home faster and contribute to reducing the cost of alcohol related ambulance call outs and accident and emergency services. The cost of these services is about £5 million per year in Leeds. We hope that it will also improve the quality of life for people working in the city centre and for people enjoying their evening‘s leisure time.”
For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450