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Woman arrested for racially abusing taxi driver before punching him and refusing to pay her fare

PUBLISHED: 14:03 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 29 March 2019

Gas Hill in Norwich. Photo: SIMON FINLAY.

Gas Hill in Norwich. Photo: SIMON FINLAY.

A woman has been arrested after allegedly racially abusing a taxi driver before punching him and refusing to pay her fare.

Mark Streeter, owner of Norwich taxi company Courtesy Taxis. Photo: Simon FinlayMark Streeter, owner of Norwich taxi company Courtesy Taxis. Photo: Simon Finlay

It happened in Norwich on Thursday, at around midnight, on Gas Hill.

Police were called and the woman, in her 20s from the Norwich area, is also said to have assaulted a police officer before she was arrested.

She was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, making off without payment, and assault, and taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre where she remained in custody on Friday afternoon.

Although the driver was not one from his firm, Courtesy Taxis owner Mark Streeter said those in the taxi trade had suffered abuse for many years.

ABC Taxi drivers Russell Ahmed, centre, and Saud Qasim, right, have been subject to racial abuse while working. Pictured with company owner Paul Walker.
 Picture: ANTONY KELLYABC Taxi drivers Russell Ahmed, centre, and Saud Qasim, right, have been subject to racial abuse while working. Pictured with company owner Paul Walker. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He said: “I do hear of it, and also my staff on the phones, who are mostly female, get a lot of abuse as well, and in the taxi office which is why we have door staff.

“Unfortunately it’s the nature of the job.”

MORE: ‘Please be respectful’: Norwich taxi drivers tell of big rise in racist abuse

Mr Streeter said he had worked in the industry for 30 years, 15 of those as a driver himself, and he had been subject to abuse.

And he felt more of it was now racial as more foreign drivers worked in the trade.

“It could be racial, it could be ‘you’re bald, you’re fat’,” he said. “I could tell you stories from 25 years ago when people would put the windows out in cars and fighting all for a fare of £3.”

Mr Streeter said you heard more about the abuse now, as it was considered less acceptable, but that sometimes customers could be unreasonable.

“People expect everything to be here and now,” he said. “These boys are out there just making a living, if people got this amount of abuse in a different industry it would be sorted out, if someone was throwing up or throwing chicken around and abusing people in Aviva they would be thrown out, but we’re taking people home.”

Drivers at ABC, another of Norwich’s big taxi firms, previously spoke out about the racist abuse they suffered, and said every single one of its foreign drivers had been targeted.

Co-owner Paul Walker said at the time the problem was worse than he had ever known it in his 34 years in the business. He said: “Racism is more apparent today than it ever was.”

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