CCTV could be installed in taxis

TAXIS in the Whitby area could be fitted with CCTV systems after a number of drivers raised concerns.

The issue of installing such systems in Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles was highlighted at a recent meeting of Scarborough Borough Council’s Licensing committee.

Mark Heaton, one of the council’s licensing officers, had recommended that there should be a six week consultation period to develop a suitable policy.

In a council report he said: “Consultation with interested parties is recommended, the outcome of which will assist officers in developing a fair and appropriate policy in relation to CCTV in licensed vehicles.

“The licensing authority is required to ensure the safety of people travelling within its licensed vehicles. This applies equally to drivers as it does passengers.

“A number of licensed drivers have made enquiries to ascertain whether the licensing authority have any objections to CCTV being fitted inside their licensed vehicles.”

Potential benefits were highlighted which included: crime prevention, help to identify criminals, to help reduce the fear of crime and increase passenger and driver safety.

But potential risks included passengers being unaware that they were being filmed and images being used for unscrupulous purposes.

The committee accepted the report and the public consultation period will run from Monday 7 March until Monday 18 April, with the results brought to the licensing committee in June.

Interested parties would include the Scarborough and District taxi Association, licensed drivers, operators of taxis and private hire vehicles and North Yorkshire Police.

A survey carried out in Sheffield revealed that CCTV cameras had a positive impact on reducing crime.

According to the committee minutes the proposed system conditions will be added as an additional appendix to the council’s Taxi and Private Hire Policy and, if appropriate, an additional condition will be added regarding when the CCTV camera should be switched on and how long for.

It was also recommended that delegated authority be given to the head of Environmental Services to approve CCTV installers who could meet or exceed the minimum specification laid out in the proposed policy.