Uber 'failing to report sex attacks', police claim in damning letter

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Uber is failing to report serious crimes including sexual assaults in order to protect its reputation, according to a Metropolitan Police chief.

Inspector Neil Billany, head of the force’s taxi and private hire unit, said he had “significant concern” that the firm seemed to be “deciding what [crimes] to report”. Uber said the comments did not reflect its “good working relationship” with the police.

Insp Billany claimed Uber was “allowing situations to develop that clearly affect the safety and security of the public” by keeping police in the dark about certain alleged offences and telling officers only about “less serious matters” that were “less damaging to its reputation”.

Alleged cases – outlined in a letter to Transport for London seen by the Sunday Times – include at least six sexual assaults on passengers, two public order offences and an assault.

The claims come as Uber faces a licence review in London, one of hundreds of cities worldwide where the app-based car hire service operates.

Black-cab-drivers in London have protested against Uber in the past (Anthony Devlin/PA Wire)

Transport for London, which will determine whether to extend Uber’s licence, said the alleged failure was “totally unacceptable”.

Director of service operations Peter Blake said: “We take any concerns about the reporting of sexual and violent incidents extremely seriously and have worked closely with the Met to ensure appropriate action has been taken against these drivers.

“Any delay in reporting serious crimes is totally unacceptable and we have been in contact with the operator to ask them to respond to these concerns.”

London Assembly transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon told the Sunday Times: “This apparent cover-up of reports about such serious criminal activity is shameful.”

Uber said it took complaints very seriously and always worked with the police on investigations.

But the firm said it respected that people may not always want to report allegations to the police.

A spokesman said: “We were surprised by this letter as in no way does it reflect the good working relationship we have with the police and the extensive support we provide.

“Our team includes former Met Police officers who work closely with the police and act quickly to respond to complaints.

“If there is a serious incident involving a licensed driver they are prevented from using our app and TfL is promptly notified. We advise people to report serious incidents to the police and support any subsequent investigations, but respect the rights of individuals to decide whether or not to make such reports.”

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