Editor’s comment: Policy of no comment has no place

Courier riders are alerting each other to the attacks in a WhatsApp group.

Courier riders are alerting each other to the attacks in a WhatsApp group. - Credit: Archant

A fortnight ago, the Gazette published Hackney couriers’ claims that they were being targeted in a wave of moped crime.

Terrified riders working for the delivery firm Deliveroo said they were refusing to visit parts of the borough late at night for fear they would be threatened with violence and their vehicles stolen.

Neither Deliveroo nor the police thought it necessary to respond to our requests for comment on that story.

A little more than a week later, acid was thrown in the faces of five moped riders during robberies across Hackney and Islington in the space of 90 minutes. One victim was left with life-changing injuries, police said. At least two are believed to have been Deliveroo drivers. A third Deliveroo worker is believed to have been attacked the same evening between Green Lanes and Finsbury Park.

Within hours, with the story all over the national (and local) press, Deliveroo issued a statement condemning the attacks as “truly shocking”. It vowed to speak to regional offices and police about how to stop criminals targeting its riders.

Yet when we asked if Deliveroo could confirm the number of attacks specifically targeting its drivers that night, or – given the story it had failed to comment on – any more information it had about the preceding weeks, we were again given nothing.

Couriers two weeks ago told us Deliveroo was simply kicking them its list for refusing to go to certain areas after hours. Deliveroo could have denied this; it chose to stay silent.

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Responsibility for these vicious attacks lies with the attacker(s). But Deliveroo has a responsibility to keep its drivers safe, too. And as its neighbours and customers we don’t know what action, if any, it has taken to support them. That simply isn’t good enough.