CCTV in taxis to protect passengers? Tonbridge already has them

FAIR DEAL: Terry Hill, the owner of Castle Cars, says there are privacy issues with CCTV in taxis

CCTV in taxis to protect passengers? Tonbridge already has them

by Andy Tong | 8th March 2019

CCTV cameras may be installed in taxis in an effort to provide greater protection for women and other vulnerable passengers.

The move is part of a package of initiatives being put forward by Wealden MP Nus Ghani, the Government’s Taxi Minister.

The announcement comes three months after an investigation by the Times uncovered a trend in women being ‘abused’ by taxi drivers.

Ms Ghani told the Times: “While the vast majority of drivers are safe and act responsibly, we have seen too many cases where taxi and minicab drivers have used their job to prey on vulnerable people, women and children.”

She explained the new rules would see councils ensure every driver undergoes enhanced criminal record and background checks.

Her department will also consider whether vehicles should be fitted with CCTV. These encrypted systems mean footage can only be accessed if there is a crime reported.

Terry Hill, the owner of Tonbridge company Castle Cars, said the majority of his vehicles had been fitted with cameras which act as ‘reverse dashcam’ for several years.

'I’m not convinced that they would catch the drivers’ face, but they would record what was said in the car'

This meant they looked out of the back window and could monitor passenger behaviour.

He said: “I’m not convinced that they would catch the drivers’ face, but they would record what was said in the car.”

He added: “We do have to be a bit careful that we are not in contravention of privacy laws with recording private conversations. But our cameras do overwrite themselves every 24 hours.”

The Government has also pledged to legislate on national minimum standards for drivers, establish a national licensing database and look at restricting drivers operating hundreds of miles away from where they are licensed.

“Again, we would have to be careful,” said Mr Hill about drivers who have fares that are far from the town. “If someone wants us to pick them up from the airport, or from Birmingham for example, then that’s difficult.

“But you should always be taking passengers to or from your general area of operation.”

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