A frustrated Ipswich taxi driver tired with the frequency of fare dodging has received an apology after "inadequate" support from police.

Mohammed Ullah, 42, has complained each time he has called police after customers failed to pay for a journey.

The 42-year-old was told fare dodging was a civil rather than criminal matter and given no help.

Ipswich Star: The taxi driver spoke of his frustration that fare dodgers were going unpunished.The taxi driver spoke of his frustration that fare dodgers were going unpunished. (Image: Newsquest)

He said he has experienced customers refusing to pay several times each month and has sometimes lost out on £30 for a journey due to fare dodging.

In August he wrote to the Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore and cited legislation to show it was criminal but still could not get help.

Mr Ullah wrote: “Unfortunately, the support I expected from the Suffolk Police has been absent, leading me to escalate this matter to an official complaint.

“The response I have received thus far from the police operators has been inadequate, either labelling the issue as a civil matter or discouraging me from contacting the police unless it is a life-threatening situation.”

His calls were supported by Ipswich Borough councillor Ruman Muhith who argued Mr Passmore needs to work with Chief Constable Rachel Kearton to deal with fare dodgers. 

Ipswich Star: Cllr Ruman Muhith helped Mr Ullah with his concerns over frequent fare dodgers.Cllr Ruman Muhith helped Mr Ullah with his concerns over frequent fare dodgers. (Image: Ruman Muhith)

Cllr Muhith said: “This issue, although operational, demands joint cooperation between the Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner and the Suffolk Police Chief Constable.

“It is crucial to ensure a robust understanding of relevant legislation among police officers and call operators.

“If the PCC and the Chief Constable work closely in consultation with both taxi drivers and taxi operators, this can lead to effective strategies that deter such offences.” 

This paper approached Suffolk Constabulary about the matter in which a spokesman said: “We have spoken to Mr Ullah to discuss the concerns raised.

“Now that we have more detail we will be listening to the call and if required we will pass on any learning individually and or organisationally.

“We have apologised to Mr Ullah if the service fell below the expected standard. We have also discussed the online reporting tool available on the Suffolk police website as well as reassurance that Suffolk police do take these offences seriously.”

In addition, the police and crime commisioner assured he understood why such an issue "causes such concern".

Ipswich Star: Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore.Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore. (Image: Suffolk Constabulary)

Mr Passmore said: “It is quite outrageous that anyone trying to earn a decent living should be repeatedly hindered in this way.

“I understand from the Constabulary they have been unable to identify the reference number provided by Mr Ullah, it appears it may have been provided by a different agency such as Action Fraud. 

“In my correspondence with Mr Ullah, I have asked him to provide the reference supplied by the constabulary so I can take this matter up on his behalf.”