ADCU slams racist presentation at West Northamptonshire Council committee hearing but welcomes decision to defer vote on flawed regulatory proposals
ADCU welcomes West Northamptonshire Council decision to delay vote flawed regulations but utterly condemn racist presentation of licensing staff before the Council.
The ADCU welcomes the decision of the licensing committee of the West Northamptonshire Council to delay any vote on the proposed regulations that are regressive, racist and unworkable.
The union is gratified that in just 40 minutes, the elected representatives took on board the serious concerns raised by the ADCU and other trade representatives. It is unfortunate that the licensing directorate chose not to properly engage with and listen to the trade who have raised these issues in vain for nearly a year now.
However, the ADCU utterly condemns the behaviour of Nicolas Sutcliffe,Licensing and Environmental Support Services Manager at West Northamtonshire Council who was responsible for the development of the flawed regulatory proposal.
Mr. Sutcliffe resorted to the use of racist tropes in answer to a question raised by a Councillor about how the Council plans to consider in licensing decisions what they consider to be ‘criminal behaviour’ of applicants even in cases where the applicant has not been charged, convicted or where there has not even been any police involvement. In explaining the policy, Mr. Sutcliffe summoned up the hypothetical scenario of where an alleged rape victim might be ‘spirited away to Pakistan’ so that she might be prevented from giving evidence against a hypothetical license applicant.
It is telling, that when this power grab by the Council authorities comes under the pressure of democratic scrutiny, the Council authorities choose to resort to racist tropes of sexual violence undertaken by Pakistani men in order to frighten and intimidate the Council into delegating powers they are proving themselves unfit to administer. Such tropes serve to demonise and stigmatise an already marginalised community who work in the trade despite not a scintilla of evidence that such offences or risk of offending has ever taken place. This racist repression is also designed to disempower and disenfranchise workers in the taxi and private hire trade in the political decision making relating to proper regulation.
The ADCU call on the Council to investigate this matter and undertake all appropriate disciplinary action.
Amongst the concerns the ADCU raised regarding the proposed regulations:
Shafqat Shah, Chair of ADCU Northampton said:
I am grateful for the common sense exercised by the licensing committee in their decision to defer any vote on the regulations until those of us working in the trade have been properly listened to and until an equalities impact assessment has been properly carried out. It is regrettable that so much time and money has been wasted by the Council of the development of unworkable regulations when problems could have been avoided if they had been willing to properly engage with the trade.
Abdurzak Hadi, ADCU BAME Officer said:
We are deeply concerned about the use of racist language and tropes by Council staff in their presentation before the licensing committee last night. Racism has no place in modern society and certainly not in public life. Council staff resorted to the use of harmful tropes, deeply hurtful to the local Pakistani driver community, to marginalise and demonise a minority workforce whilst manipulating the democratic process by invoking images of racism linked with sexual violence. This matter should be investigated as a matter of urgency by the Council and all appropriate disciplinary action should be undertaken.