Bolton Council, along with the police and taxi trade bosses, is seeking solutions and putting in place pilot schemes in order to try and bring down the number of ‘hate crimes’ against cabbies.
Police say that the number of crimes against taxi drivers in Bolton is at an all time high and they need to crack down on the problem.
A pilot scheme is currently in place, with six Bolton taxis testing out CCTV surveillance.
Council bosses would like to see CCTV cameras installed in every taxi but at a cost of £1,000 per vehicle they fear that the surveillance equipment is too expensive to roll out on a wider scale as the cost to buy a taxi is not unsubstantive in itself.
They are researching ways of sourcing the equipment with a view to bulk buying the cameras in order to pass a good discounted rate on to taxi drivers.
The chairman of Bolton Council’s licensing committee, Jim Lord commented: “We’ve found a possible solution that costs about £70 to £80 per camera package — it’s pretty decent and if we could have these installed, we believe it would cut violence against drivers a lot.”
Another option being discussed is to introduce up-front payments. This would hopefully cut the number of squabbles caused by customers paying fares.
Last week, it was reported that Bolton cabbie, Gulistan Khan was physically assaulted and robbed of his taxi. If CCTV had been fitted to this cab then there would have been a greater chance of catching and prosecuting the robber.
Sergeant Robert Knight who is working in partnership with Bolton Council said: “The taxi trade is very strong in Bolton and we are concerned about making them as safe as possible.
“As we would for any profession, we are looking at how we can assist in partnership to make them safer and one of the options is CCTV.”