The Pool recently ran a very interesting article looking at Uber’s approach to sexual assault committed by its drivers in London. The Metropolitan police accused the company of ‘failing to report sexual assaults by its drivers and, moreover, keeping those drivers accused on its books regardless‘.
Uber is often used by travellers because it is so convenient – you do not need to negotiate through a language barrier and payment is taken care of in the app. Navigating a city on the other side of the world when you are running on limited sleep is so much easier with the tap of a few familiar buttons.
Uber is no stranger to difficult headlines relating to sexual assault –
- June 27, 2017 – Quick Read: Uber Driver Accused Of Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Intoxicated Female Passenger
- April 20, 2017 –Quick Read: Man Accused Of Posing As Uber Driver To Kidnap And Rape Faces More Charges
- February 27, 2017 –Quick Read: Brazil’s Love Affair With Uber Has Been Ruined By Kidnapping, Robbery, And Murder
- November 1, 2016 –Quick Read: Police: Uber Driver Kidnapped, Assaulted Passenger Who Passed Out At Dc Bar
- October 19, 2016 –South Africa: In Wake Of Recent Attacks, Uber Trials New Panic Button
- September 12, 2016 –Quick Read: After Requesting Uber Ride, Couple Says Driver Kidnapped, Raped Girlfriend
- September 1, 2016 –South Africa: Fourways Fake-Uber Kidnap And Robbery Third Event Of Its Kind In Two Months
Uber is not unique in this situation – there have been many cases of taxi drivers being accused of sexual assault and other crimes. However, Uber presents a corporate image that can paper over potential risks and the effortless convenience of using the app can outweigh doubts about safety. The company is now a part of daily life for many people – something that can fuel complacency.
If you are involved in travel planning for your organisation, please factor these recent allegations in to risk briefings.
From the Pool –
The latest Uber allegations show an extraordinary disregard for women’s safety
Uber is in a position of responsibility – and when a company fails you, you complain and expect it to atone. Duly, customers lodged complaints with Uber after specific incidents, assuming it would pass those reports on to the police. But Billany says that Uber withheld information, including at least six sexual assaults, two public order offences and an assault. In one instance, a driver who was not reported to the police was later able to assault a second woman in a “more serious” attack. “Had Uber notified police after the first offence, it would be right to assume that the second would have been prevented,” Inspector Billany wrote. Uber would pass on complaints to Transport for London (TfL) instead of directly to the police – meaning that the Met learnt about the crimes too late to prosecute.
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