'Mandatory' CCTV for all Bedfordshire taxis if proposal passes
PUBLISHED: 12:01 16 January 2020
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A new scheme that would see CCTV cameras becoming mandatory in all licensed taxis in Central Bedfordshire is to be discussed by the council.
Central Bedfordshire Council is currently consulting on the possibility of CCTV cameras being installed in hackney carriage and private hire vehicles to protect the safety of both drivers and passengers.
Under the council's proposal, cameras would be installed in approximately 180 vehicles as part of a pilot scheme - with the view to making CCTV mandatory in all licensed vehicles from April 2021.
The cameras would be able to be used as a source of evidence in the case of disputes between drivers and passengers, while also discouraging anti-social behaviour or crime.
The council say it has tried to alleviate any privacy fears by striking the right balance betwen safety and privacy in this proposal.
The cameras would be able to view the front of the vehicle and inside - including the faces of both passengers and drivers. Sound would not be recorded unless a button was pressed by either the driver or passenger(s).
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The council has also promised that under their proposal there would be no live viewing of the footage from cameras, and recordings would be safely stored and encrypted.
They add that no vehicle operators would be able view the footage, and downloads requests of footage would only cover the period when incidents were reported to have happened. Only the council and police would be able to view recordings.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for community services at CBC, said: "We believe having CCTV in licensed vehicles will provide a safer experience for both drivers and the public.
"Drivers of licensed vehicles are placed in a position of trust to carry, sometimes unaccompanied and vulnerable, individuals, while also being placed in vulnerable positions themselves sometimes being subject to verbal and physical abuse, robberies and false allegations.
"We would like to hear from members of the public on this proposal."
You can leave your thoughts on the proposal at centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations. The consultation period ends on Tuesday, February 25.
Paper copies of this proposal are also available in Central Beds libraries.