No compulsory CCTV for taxis in South Ribble

Councillors in South Ribble concluded that compulsory CCTV in taxis could not be justified.
Councillors in South Ribble concluded that compulsory CCTV in taxis could not be justified.
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Taxi drivers in South Ribble will not be forced to fit CCTV to their vehicles.

Councillors on the borough’s licensing committee were told that the cost of installing a system in every vehicle - which would have been borne by drivers - could not be justified, because of low crime rates involving taxis.

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The council currently “recommends” that CCTV is installed “for the safety of both the driver and passenger”.

“From a deterrent point of view, you can’t put a value on CCTV,” Mark Marshall, South Ribble’s Head of Licensing, told the committee. “But reported crime against drivers in South Ribble is very low.”

He added that concerns over data protection and privacy could have been overcome, but that the council did not have the funds to cover the £500 cost of fitting a system in each taxi.

Committee member Paul Wharton said that while CCTV could also serve to protect the public, the borough would “struggle to justify a mandatory approach based on crime data”.

A report presented to councillors revealed that fewer than two percent of drivers in South Ribble had been a victim of crime in the course of their work in the last twelve months. Out of 15 reported offences, the majority were instances of customers making off without payment.

Taxi driver Ray Bailey told the committee that there was “no way drivers could recoup the cost” of installing CCTV. “Taxis are struggling,” he said.

“CCTV would be better for drivers doing nights - they are picking up drunks and people they don’t know,” Mr. Bailey added.

Fellow driver, John Gregory, agreed. “Drivers, with a pocket full of cash, are vulnerable at night.”

South Ribble had been exploring the possibility of working with other districts to create a “pan-Lancashire solution” to the issue.

Only Lancaster City Council had expressed an interest, although Rossendale Council had provided assistance and information about its own policy of mandatory CCTV in taxis.

The committee voted to maintain the status quo, but pledged to keep crime rates under review.