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ADDED COSTS, BETTER SAFETY? Wealden District Council latest to consult on taxi and PHV CCTV usage

Updated: Dec 28, 2022

Wealden District Council are the latest licensing authority to have started a public consultation on whether installing CCTV in Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles (PHV) would have a positive or adverse effect on the safety of passengers and users, including children and vulnerable adults.

Making the use of CCTV in vehicles mandatory may discourage people that are intent on causing harm from applying to have a taxi licence. Those that hold a licence may also change their behaviour say Wealden District Council (WDC).

It is hoped that CCTV systems that can record sound (audio) as well as visual data may also help in the early identification of drivers and passengers that are demonstrating inappropriate behaviour. When sound recordings are being made it must however be obvious to everyone within the vehicle that the recording is happening.

Installing the CCTV system, and having procedures in place to maintain, monitor and manage the system and information will entail an additional cost for drivers, vehicle proprietors and potentially operators.

There are important considerations to be made about who is the data controller and about data protection. The driver and data controller would need to have adequate arrangements in place to protect privacy, data, a secure CCTV system and procedures to ensure they don’t contravene best practice and statutory guidance.

In July 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) published statutory taxi and PHV standards. These include a number of standards that taxi and PHV licensing authorities are expected to implement, including that all licensing authorities in England and Wales should undertake a consultation on in-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs.

The CCTV equipment installed in vehicles can be expensive to drivers and operators who are still recovering from huge revenue loses during the coronavirus pandemic. Rising fuel costs, inflation and added new costs like CCTV, has also pushed fare prices up in regions across the UK.

In some licensing areas like East Riding of West Yorkshire Council they have agreed to pay £160,000 to fit CCTV equipment in licensed taxis after deciding to make the devices mandatory in all licensed cabs.

Drivers in Wealden are most likely to initially pay for the expensive equipment. The added running expense would then be added to the metered prices and pushed onto customers using taxis in the area.


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