April 12, 2019
Compulsory taxi dash camera plans have been postponed in Wrexham following concerns over legal risks.
The cameras with auto-uploaded video, have been sought after from the government and other councils in a bid to increase passenger and driver safety.
Wrexham Council’s licensing committee has asked officials to make CCTV compulsory.
Currently, 100 out of over 500 hackney taxi and private hire vehicles have had dash cams installed on their own accord.
Now, Wrexham Council’s committee members have said that making the dash cameras compulsory in all taxis would strengthen evidence on crimes committed.
Licensing officials also highlighted the legal risks that the cameras could have on Wrexham council, with the possibility that legal action may arise from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
A licensing team leader said: “Following a request, we looked into the feasibility and mandatory cameras within vehicles, particularly dash cams.
“Only five authorities in England have applied mandatory CCTV and those have faced legal challenges from the ICO.
“Problems arose about the legality of mandatory recording, as by doing so the authority makes itself the data controller.
“As a result, the authority has strict legal obligations as to the storage and retention of the data required. The ICO recently published an article in 2018 where it describes continuous CCTV recording as almost always unlawful.”
Mr Thomas said a new structure is being proposed by both the Welsh Government and Department for Transport over CCTV footage in taxis.
Concerns surrounded the possibility of taxi drivers being able to edit and delete recordings.
Councillor Derek Wright said: “My concern would be that it would all be at the taxi driver’s behest what he kept and what he deleted.
“Therefore, I wouldn’t like it where it’s in the control of the taxi driver to edit part of the film.”
Most councillors were in agreement of these views and backed plans for compulsory cameras to be stopped for now.
Councillor Brian Cameron, said: “How can you put a cost on safety? That’s my concern.
“How many times have we been here? CCTV would have helped not only the taxi driver but the individuals. It might not be the time but I don’t think we can take it off the table completely.”