January 30, 2020
The licensing committee for Colchester Council has put forward a proposal to implement mandatory CCTV in all cabs. Local residents and business owners will now be asked for their thoughts on the motion over a three-month period after a majority voted to move forward during a vote on the proposal from the committee. The team believe this will greatly improve safety for both private hire taxi car and hackney carriage drivers and for passengers in the area.
The next step in the process is for a consultation to be opened, which will be followed by the final decision on whether security cameras should be installed both within hackney taxis and private hire vehicles registered within the town.
Mike Lilley, the area’s Community, Wellbeing and Public Safety Councillor, feels positive about this development. “I’m pleased that our licensing committee has agreed to take this proposed policy forward to consultation” he announced. “Installing CCTV cameras in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles will increase safety and provide reassurance to both passengers and drivers”.
If the project were to go ahead, the requirement would be that visuals in the taxi would be recorded – however, audio would only be added to the recording when the taxi driver depressed a panic button within the vehicle. Additionally, the footage would not be accessible to the driver or owner of the car but only made available to Colchester Council when deemed absolutely necessary.
Mr Lilley stated “I see this as a proactive move to ensure we’re doing all we can to keep those who live, work and visit Colchester safe”.
Of course, there is an issue around the cost of setup. Mike Lilley added, “I recognise the implementation of CCTV will mean an additional cost to licensees, but we feel the safety of drivers and the public are paramount”. He also made it clear that these installation costs will be eligible for business expense claims via the HMRC. There’s also the possibility the council will be able to offer match funding moving forward in order to further absorb the fee in support of the licensee.
Despite the grumbles around how much the plan might cost to local cabbies, there is no denying that this should make the industry safer for both the drivers and passengers in Colchester.