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MANDATORY TAXI CCTV: How many local authorities in England have chosen cameras as a requirement?

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

CCTV is widely used in various settings, such as public places, businesses, schools, and homes, for security and surveillance purposes. But what about taxis? Why do only a handful of local authorities require taxi drivers to install CCTV in their vehicles?

Let's start with the pros. One of the main reasons for mandating CCTV in taxis is to protect both drivers and passengers from crime and violence. According to the Office for National Statistics, taxi drivers are among the most at-risk occupations for experiencing violence at work, with 15% of them reporting physical assaults and 28% reporting verbal abuse in 2019/20. Taxi passengers can also find themselves in vulnerable situations especially when travelling alone or at night.

CCTV can act as a deterrent for potential offenders, as they know they are being recorded and can be identified later. CCTV can also provide evidence for the police and the courts in case of an incident, which can help to bring offenders to justice and support victims' claims. CCTV can also help to resolve disputes between drivers and passengers over fares, routes, or behaviour.

Another reason for mandating CCTV in taxis is to improve the quality and safety of taxi services. CCTV can help to monitor and enforce compliance with licensing conditions, such as vehicle standards, driver qualifications, and insurance. CCTV can also help to identify and address issues such as overcharging, overloading, or refusing fares. For some CCTV can also help to improve customer satisfaction and trust in taxi services, as they can feel more secure and comfortable when travelling.

However, mandating CCTV in taxis does raise some concerns and challenges. One of them is the cost of installing and maintaining CCTV systems, which can be a burden for taxi drivers or operators who have to bear the expense. Another one is the privacy and data protection of drivers and passengers, who may not consent to being recorded or have control over how their personal data is used or stored. CCTV may also infringe on the rights and freedoms of drivers and passengers, such as their freedom of expression or association.

Therefore, local authorities that have mandatory CCTV in taxis need to balance the benefits and risks of CCTV, and ensure that they have a clear legal basis, a proportionate purpose, and a transparent policy for implementing CCTV. They also need to consult with relevant stakeholders, such as taxi drivers, operators, passengers, and civil society groups, to address their views and concerns.

Complying with the relevant laws and regulations on data protection and human rights, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Human Rights Act 1998 is also paramount.

How many of the 276 taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) licensing authorities currently mandate CCTV usage?

Just recently Daniel Zeichner MP asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many licensing authorities have introduced mandatory CCTV in taxis and private hire vehicles.

Richard Holden, a DfT transport minister, confirmed as of 31 March 2022, 15 authorities had a requirement for all licensed taxis to have CCTV fitted and 14 had a requirement for all licensed PHVs to have CCTV fitted.


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