The Department for Transport (DfT) published its 'Statutory Taxi & Private Hire Vehicle Licensing Standards' on 21 July 2020, and all councils and licensing authorities have a legal duty to adhere to the new minimum standards when undertaking their hackney carriage and private hire vehicle licensing function.
With this in mind, a review of the East Lindsey Borough Council's hackney carriage (taxi) and private hire vehicle licensing services operation is currently being undertaken in line with the DfT document.
The Licensing Standards indicate that the Licensing Authority should undertake an investigation on the proportionality of CCTV within licensed vehicles. On 23 November 2020, the Council's General Licensing Committee approved a 12-week public consultation about CCTV in licensed vehicles.
In particular, it should be noted that the DfT document states the following:
'All Licensing Authorities should consult to identify if there are local circumstances which indicate that the installation of CCTV in vehicles would have either a positive or an adverse net effect on the safety of taxi and private hire vehicle users, including children or vulnerable adults, and taking into account potential privacy issues.'
This consultation asks whether the Council should move away from the voluntary system and instead consider requiring all taxis and private hire vehicles to install CCTV.
The council is asking that when replying to the consultation, it is important to note that there is no current evidence of a prevalence of crimes being committed within taxis and private hire vehicles licensed within their authority.
The council are also stressing taking into consideration the cost of such systems being installed, saying: “It is likely that a high standard and robust CCTV system could cost between £500 and £1,000 per vehicle.”
The consultation can be found via the East Lindsey Borough Council website, and will take around 10 minutes to complete.
A spokesperson for the council concluded: “The consultation is now open until 5 March 2021, and asks whether the Council should move away from the current voluntary system and instead consider requiring all taxi and private hire vehicles to install CCTV.
“The purpose of a taxi / private hire vehicle CCTV system should be to provide a safer environment for the benefit of the driver and passengers by:
• Deterring and preventing the occurrence of crime;
• Reducing the fear of crime;
• Assisting the Police in investigating incidents of crime;
• Assisting insurance companies in investigating motor vehicle accidents.
“The consultation can be completed online by visiting www.e-lindsey.gov.uk/consultation
“All relevant comments received will be considered and will help to formulate the final policy document to be presented for consideration by the General Licensing Committee (consisting of Councillors). Your comments may also be published on the Council's website in Committee reports and Council meeting minutes. They will not be shared with third parties.”