Milton Keynes Council formally apologies for ‘Operation India’ gaff

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The council has formerly apologised after it received a backlash over the naming of a new Milton Keynes-wide taxi initiative.

MK Council bosses were criticised over the labelling of the taxi enforcement campaign Operation India.

Operation India was set up as a joint initiative between council taxi licensing officers and police to carry out checks on drivers.

But both councillors and the taxi community have described the name of the scheme as racially insensitive.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, said: “This name must be reconsidered, people will be outraged and it does not send a good message about ethnic minorities.

“It’s essentially blaming all Indian taxi drivers. These are good hard working people who work unsocial hours to make sure people get home safely.”

A taxi boss who has worked in Milton Keynes for 12 years, said: “I don’t have a problem with the police and council coming to check that our taxis are legal and safe.

“However to use ‘India’ as the name of the operation is racially insensitive and it should be retracted.

“Just to use the word... it’s like they’re implying criminal drivers are Indian.

“I think it will cause outrage across the taxi driving community, why did they have to use a country or race?”

However the council initially defended the name ‘Operation India’.

A spokesman said: “These joint operations are identified using the internationally recognised phonetic alphabet.”

Councillor Mick Legg, said: “I would like to offer the council’s sincerest apologies to any members of the community, particularly the Indian or Indian heritage community, who have been offended by the naming of our Operation India taxi inspection project.

“The council has worked in close partnership with all of our faith and cultural groups over many years and I am saddened that we have inadvertently caused such upset amongst our friends, which was never our intention.

“I would like to repeat that MK Council is truly sorry for any offence and apologise unreservedly.”