Rochdale taxi firm receiving 60 calls a week requesting white drivers following abuse scandal

Company says it is providing white drivers on request after two drivers were convicted for rape and trafficking

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A minicab firm in Rochdale, the town at the heart of Britain’s largest grooming scandal, has admitted to supplying white drivers to customers on request, but claims it has no power to reverse peoples’ decisions.

Stephen Campbell, the manager of Car 2000, told The Guardian that since the sex scandal in Rochdale, in which a gang of men, mainly of Pakistani origin, had been convicted of sexual exploitation, rape and trafficking 47 white girls, many customers now ask for white drivers.

“We have had quite a lot of customers requested what they call a ‘local’ driver. A bit insane if you consider that most of the [Asian] lads were born in Rochdale,” he told the paper.

Nine men were found guilty of being part of a child sexual exploitation ring in the Greater Manchester borough in 2012. Two of the men were drivers at the Eagle Taxis firm, which was later taken over by Car 2000.

Mr Campbell said he receives around 60 calls a week requesting white drivers, and said he would persuade people to take any driver if he could, but that as a business, his firm has a duty to do what the customer asks.

He believes that if the public could see the Asian drivers “up close” and understand their hard work ethic, people would not so readily ask for white drivers.

James Kingett, a spokesman for anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card, told The Independent it was “saddened” to hear that customers are discriminating against certain taxi drivers based on the colour of their skin or ethnic background, “particularly as the independent inquiry into the case concluded that it would be ‘dangerous’ and ‘simplistic’ just to explain the men’s actions as a cultural trait”.

“As highlighted by the owner of the taxi firm, the term ‘local’ is also disingenuous as many of the drivers are Rochdale-born.”

He added that charity believes that “disproportionate and inappropriate reporting by certain sections of the media” had contributed to the creation of negative stereotypes about taxi drivers from particular backgrounds “based on the actions of a few individuals”.