The High Court has denied permission for a judicial review which sought to challenge South Cambridgeshire District Council's new taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) policy forcing mandatory CCTV in all licensed cars later this year.
The new policy has been a controversial topic for many working in the industry. Taxi drivers who financially survived the drop in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, now face shelling out £500 on systems during a cost of living crisis.
The approved policy means all new vehicle licences and existing licensed vehicles up for renewal from September 2023 must be fitted with CCTV. This should see all licensed vehicles installed with CCTV by 31 August 2024.
Cambridge City Council have in the past postponed the arrival of mandatory CCTV in taxi and minicab vehicles following several protests in the city.
The High Court decision will come as a blow to those who have been campaigning against the CCTV policy. However, supporters of the policy argue that it is necessary to ensure the safety of both passengers and drivers.
According to Local Government Lawyer, South Cambridgeshire District Council's Lead Cabinet Member for Licensing, Cllr Henry Batchelor, said: "The installation of CCTV in taxis has been on the agenda for several years now and was only delayed because we recognised the difficulties the trade faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Following research with suppliers, the cost of a CCTV system is around £500 for a taxi.
"Many taxi drivers also support the policy because they recognise the presence of CCTV will reduce the number of incidents of abusive and violent behaviour towards them. The data recorded will be encrypted and stored securely in the vehicle; it will not be accessible by the driver or the taxi operator.
"Most of the images recorded will never even be seen because they will be erased after 28 days. Only if there is an incident or complaint will they be analysed by the police or other authorised officers when gathering evidence. For anyone who has family members or friends who drive taxis or travel in them, it should be reassuring to have the additional safety net that CCTV provides."