Plans for CCTV in every cab in Colchester
- Credit: Archant
Every taxi in Colchester could have CCTV installed in the future after the council approved a consultation on the matter.
Agreed on January 22, councillors are inviting comments from cab companies and members of the public to inform their final decision to be made in the spring.
If adopted, it will be hackney carriage and private hire vehicles in Colchester will be required to have cameras inside, in a bit to protect the public and drivers.
According to the draft proposals, cab companies would be responsible for paying for and installing all their own equipment, but could reclaim the cost as a business expense through HMRC.
Mike Lilley, cabinet portfolio holder for communities, wellbeing and public safety, said: "I'm pleased that our Licensing Committee has agreed to take this proposed policy forward to consultation.
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"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.
"Research has shown that when someone is being recorded, they are more likely to be better behaved and taxis have been known to be used for criminal activities.
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The CCTV cameras will continually record when the vehicle is in use and would have to be clearly signposted inside the cab.
Although they must not automatically record audio, there should be a capacity to do so in the case of a threat of physical violence or where there is a genuine belief that a crime is being committed.
Video data would have to be stored for 28 days and then deleted.
The CCTV footage is subject to strict policies that comply with the requirements of the Information Commissioners Office.
Drivers caught not complying with the new CCTV policy would face having six points added to their license.
Mr Lilley added: "The footage recorded will provide invaluable evidence to enable us to take robust action against those who choose to abuse drivers and passengers or break the law.
"I recognise that the implementation of CCTV will be an additional cost for licensees, but we feel the safety of drivers and the public are paramount."
The consultation is planned to start at the end of January and will last three months.