Should Taxis Have Mandatory CCTV?

Central Bedfordshire Council is consulting on installing CCTV cameras in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles (taxis) to help provide the highest standards of public safety for those driving and using licensed vehicles.

Under the council’s proposal CCTV would be installed in approximately 180 vehicles as part of a pilot with a view to making CCTV mandatory in all licensed vehicles from April 2021*.

The cameras would be a source of evidence in the case of disputes between drivers and passengers. They also have the potential to discourage anti-social behaviour or crime committed by both drivers and passengers.

As with any recording of the public there are naturally some concerns around privacy. The council has proposed some measures that seek to achieve the right balance between safety and privacy in the proposal.

For example, the cameras would be able to view outside the front of the vehicle and inside, including the faces of both the passenger and the driver. However, the sound recording would only start if activated via a button by either the driver or passengers.

There would be no live viewing of the footage from the cameras. The recordings would be securely stored and encrypted.

Any downloads of footage that are requested would only cover the period when the incident was reported to have happened and only the council and the police would be able to view the footage. Neither drivers nor vehicle operators would have access to any of the footage.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Community Services, Councillor Ian Dalgarno, said: “We believe having CCTV in licensed vehicles will provide a safer experience for both drivers and the public.

“Drivers of licensed vehicles are placed in a position of trust to carry, sometimes unaccompanied and vulnerable individuals, whilst also being placed in vulnerable positions themselves sometimes being subject to verbal and physical abuse, robberies and false allegations.

“We would like to hear from members of the public on this proposal.”

You can read more and have your say online at https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations.

Paper copies are available in Central Bedfordshire libraries.


*The council currently licenses around 650 hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.



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