Cab safety campaigner found with replica gun
PUBLISHED: 13:47 12 November 2010
The taxi driver who fought for “spy-cams” in vehicles after the murder of a colleague had his licence suspended after police found an imitation firearm in his cab.
On Monday Richard Davis, 57, who helped pioneer the scheme after Gian Chand Bajar, 71, was assaulted and then run over and murdered in July 2007 was told he could not work until next month.
It also emerged, during the council’s Hackney Carriage Sub-Committee meeting, that police had given the former joint secretary of the United Taxi Group a formal caution for the incident earlier this year.
Because he handed his licence over in July when the claim was investigated by police he will be allowed to work again from next month, once a six month period has passed.
Mr Davis, a taxi driver for 20 years who works in Gravesend, said: “I was stupid. I put my hands up in the air.
“I was given a caution. It was not in any way dangerous, it was hidden away and not there for my own safety, and I had forgotten about it but I am not going to appeal the ruling.”
He declined to go into detail about the replica but added: “It was harmless. An acquaintance had given it to me late one night, I went home to bed – and completely forgot about it.
“It must have sat there about four or five months. It had been my intention to hand it in – but now I am paying the price for it.”
He claimed the acquaintance had pressed him to take the replica because Mr Davis had been attacked about two years ago, adding: “I was attacked by three men. I had a knife held against my throat and they took my money, mobile phone and the office radio, everything.
“I had a few clumps, but it was the knife against my throat that got me – you don’t argue with that.”
In a statement to the sub-committee North Ket Police said he was no longer a “fit and proper person” to hold a taxi licence and that “he has not only breached a position of trust, he also poses a significant threat to others, and in turn is a danger to the public.”
His suspension had been set to start from June 25 after police arrested him on June 13 at 10.30pm in Higham but it was not until July 1 he handed in his licence and badge to the council.
Mr Davis added: “I had picked up a couple at Higham, then suddenly I had the police on my tail. They stopped me and said they were acting on information received.
“They asked me to step outside, and then they searched and found the replica. It was not the couple, I don’t know who contacted them.
“The replica was inside the car console and could not be seen and I’d forgotten about it.”
The murder of father-of-five Mr Bajar, of Darnley Road, Gravesend, shocked the community and led to angy meetings between concerned taxi drivers, council bosses and police chiefs.
Luke Aujila, 21, was jailed for life in May 2008 after being found guilty by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court. Judge Andrew Patience described the murder as “utterly wicked” after hearing he mowed the driver down with his own cab after an argument over a cab fare on May 23 2007.
Mr Davis successfully helped gain funding for all taxis in Gravesend to become equiped with CCTV equipment and supported the launch of a Cabwatch scheme to improve safety for both passengers and drivers.
Mr Davis, a father-of-one, from Gillingham, was given a formal police caution on September 9 and the replica was confiscated.
Members of the sub-committee also resolved that the 12 points he has accrued on his licence remain on it for 36 months.