PRIVATE hire taxi drivers were today urged to put their safety first after a rise in the number of attacks across the West Midlands.
Detectives are investigating whether any links exist between the attacks over the past two months in Solihull, Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
Several of the drivers have been assaulted from the rear seat while others have been threatened with violence.
On each occasion the robbers have demanded cash before fleeing from their victims with the evening’s takings.
The attacks began at the start of December and have been identified as a slight increase on the norm.
Det Con Matt Dyer said: “We are looking into this slight increase but in the meantime we need drivers themselves to be extra vigilant.
“There does not appear to be any single area affected by this which is why we need all taxi company staff to up their guard.”
He called on operators and drivers to ask for as many personal details as possible from the caller to ensure a trouble-free fare.
“Usually the customer is just asked for his or her name and address but we need cabbies to think about asking for a contact number and other details,” said DC Dyer.
Most of the attacks have happened in the late evening when drivers’ takings are at their peak.
DC Dyer said: “Drivers should make arrangements to deposit their takings throughout the evening to take away the temptation.”