Race attack driver: Police took 41 days to respond

POLICE have been accused of failing to investigate properly a racist assault on an Asian taxi driver.
Police are appealing for information. Picture: TSPLPolice are appealing for information. Picture: TSPL
Police are appealing for information. Picture: TSPL

Mohammed Afzal, 36, says he feared for his life after being attacked by three men in a Glasgow pub, who racially abused him.

He said police failed to respond to him for 41 days after he initially reported the crime, and that they asked him why he thought it was racist.

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The Scottish Ethnic Private Hire Welfare Association (SEPHWA) claimed police do not do enough to protect drivers from racist abuse and harassment in Scotland’s largest city.

Aamer Anwar, a solicitor representing Mr Afzal, has written to Chief Constable Sir Stephen House questioning several aspects of the investigation and claiming police have not taken it seriously enough.

Mr Afzal was working when he was called to a job at La Cala bar, in Dennistoun, on 24 May, at 10pm.

He said: “One guy came and said, ‘Hello.’ I said, ‘I’m the taxi driver’.”

Mr Afzal said the man then punched him in the head and face and racially abused him.

He added: “I ran outside the bar. There were two guys at the door. They said, ‘Are you going to call the police?’ I said, ‘No.’

“I went towards my car but they started punching and kicking me. The other guy joined in again.”

As they did so, Mr Afzal said, they again racially abused him and threatened to kill him.

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Mr Afzal said he feared for his life, but they left and he climbed into the car and phoned the police.

He said the men got into another vehicle and drove it straight into the front of his, he added.

After the collision he drove off but they pursued him, he said, swerving their vehicle into his.

He was taken to hospital but only suffered minor injuries. He has been too afraid to work since the incident.

“I’m afraid and upset and I don’t know what is going to happen to me. I’m really scared at the moment,” Mr Afzal said.

In a letter to Police Scotland, Mr Anwar raised a string of concerns, including that no CID officers were involved in the inquiry.

He also asked when CCTV was retrieved, why police had not written to Mr Afzal and given him a reference number, and why they asked him why he thought the attack was racist.

Police Scotland have, at best, failed in their duty of care to the victim and, at worst, are guilty of institutional racism and systematic failure to investigate a serious crime of assault,” Mr Anwar said.

However, a Police Scotland spokesman said it takes all hate crime seriously and promised to investigate the alleged assault thoroughly.