Plans in Wrexham to make dash cams in taxis compulsory have hit the buffers after legal concerns fro

Will other UK licensing authorities take a step back from CCTV given the risk?

Plans in Wrexham to make dash cams in taxis compulsory have hit the buffers after legal concerns from other councils.

There has been a growing desire from both local authorities and government to implement cameras in the back of taxis to help improve safety for both driver and passengers.

In Wrexham there are currently camera systems in 100 out of the more than 500 taxis and private hire vehicles all installed on a voluntary basis according to Wrexham.com.

Wrexham Council’s licensing committee expressed their desire for the whole fleet in the area to have compulsory CCTV installed and asked officials to look into the possibility. However, officials discussing the implications of CCTV with other authorities, said the cameras would place the council at risk of legal action from the UK data regulators the Information Commissioner’s Office. Joss Thomas, a licensing team leader at Wrexham Council, said: “Following a request to look into the feasibility of mandatory cameras within vehicles, particularly dash cams, the matter was raised at the regional local authority licensing meeting this month. “There was a general consensus among the respondents. “Only five authorities in England have applied mandatory CCTV and those have faced legal challenge from the Information Commissioner’s Office. “Problems arose about the legality of mandatory recording, as by doing so the authority makes itself 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 described continuous CCTV recording as almost always unlawful.” Mr Thomas went on to say both the Welsh Government and Department for Transport are currently consulting proposals on CCTV usage in taxis and that it would be wise for the authority to await the results. Currently some authorities allow recording in taxis, including Wrexham in this case, on a voluntary basis. The importance of complying with data requirements set by the ICO however rests with the driver and not the licensing authority. 

Image: Counse (taxi image adapted to blur)

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