1 Dec 2008

Protective screens urged after taxi stabbing

6:14 pm on 1 December 2008

The Taxi Federation would like drivers in some parts of New Zealand to consider installing protective screens in their vehicles.

It follows an attack in Auckland on Friday night, which left driver Alexander Ershov, a 23-year-old from Russia, with multiple stab wounds to his upper body.

The federation's executive director, Tim Reddish, said some larger companies use GPS tracking systems and have panic buttons in their vehicles, but some smaller operators rely on radio and cellphone communication.

Mr Reddish said security screens like those used in other countries would help, but drivers are not convinced they need them and many find them impersonal.

He said it is hard to get people to take such measures when they perceive the risk as relatively low

"My view is especially in some areas in New Zealand I think they should seriously be considering putting in these screens."

Meanwhile, police have been speaking with Mr Ershov in Auckland hospital and say his condition has improved.

The Taxi Federation represents about half of the country's taxi companies.