Techno-Savy Saftey Scheme For Festive Tipplers

Had one too many to drive?  Use your mobile to scan and book a cab!

Revellers who find they have had one drink too many over the festive period will be able to scan public posters with their mobile phones in order to book a cab home.

The technology-savvy system is part of an innovative new council-backed safety campaign being run by Wandsworth police in a bid to tackle illegal cab drivers.

Wandsworth Council has worked with the Metropolitan Police Service to create the posters, which are being targeted at women who find themselves in potentially vulnerable situations when trying to get home from a night out during the Christmas and New Year party period.

The posters will be put up on the backs of toilet doors in pubs, bars and clubs in Battersea, Putney and Tooting. They contain barcode-like QR codes, which smartphones with free-to-download QR-reading software can scan using their built-in cameras.

Once the data has been read, the phone will automatically load up a Transport for London travel web page, which provides details about licensed taxi and minicab firms in the area.

It is part of a wider campaign run by police and the council which promotes personal safety, sensible drinking and safe travel over the festive period. A campaign launch event is planned to take place at Clapham Junction station at 6pm on Friday, December 2.

The campaign aims to make young women in particular aware of the dangers of drinking too much alcohol and putting themselves in positions where they may be at risk of becoming victims of crime.

Wandsworth police plan to use the posters in venues in Clapham Junction, Northcote Road and Putney and Tooting town centres in the run-up to Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Officers also intend to launch a crackdown on unlicensed cabs around Clapham Junction throughout December. They will be patrolling at train stations, distributing leaflets with useful information to help party goers have an enjoyable, but safe time whilst visiting Wandsworth.

Detective Sergeant Angela Davies, of Wandsworth police, said:
"With Christmas and New Year's celebrations around the corner we want to remind party-goers, especially young women, to do all they can to look after themselves on nights out.

"First and foremost, they should stick with their friends and always make sure they have a safe cab number handy.  What we don't want to see is people accepting offers of help getting home from strangers - nor should they ever try to take shortcuts when walking.  Anyone who is worried about getting home safely can use the QR code on these posters to find a reputable and, most importantly, licensed taxi or minicab firm."

Councillor Jonathan Cook, Wandsworth's community safety spokesman, said:
"This poster campaign makes accessing travel information at any time of the day or night as easy as pointing and clicking.  We hope - by taking advantage of this technology - this increasingly popular method of accessing online information simply and quickly will be used by revellers who may have had one too many and need help getting home from a trustworthy source.

"By holding up a phone with QR-reading software to the code on the poster, the user will be able to instantly find a licensed cab company to help them get back safely. 

"We do not want to see party-goers, particularly young women, putting their personal safety is at risk when looking for a way home."

Learn more about Transport for London's Cabwise service.


November 14, 2011