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CCTV: YOUR SECURITY CCTV IS COMING YOUR WAY


Following DfT statutory guidance issued last July directing all local authorities to review their policies and look towards implementation of CCTV in licensed vehicles, many councils are now doing just that.


BLACKBURN TAXIS COULD FINALLY BE FITTED WITH CCTV


On 26 January, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s licensing committee agreed to begin consultation in September 2021 on a new policy to bring the council in line with all local authorities in England. LancsLive reports that this could result in all licenced vehicles finally being fit- ted with CCTV. Local firm Matrix Private Hire has been campaigning for this for over a decade, owner Qasim Khan said: “We want cameras because over ten years ago, somebody pulled a gun on one of our drivers. A knife was then put to the


same driver within the same month. We obviously want CCTV for the safety of all our drivers.” Cllr Parwaiz Akhtar, Chair, said: “These are statutory Government guidelines around public safety. “CCTV can provide extra safety mea- sures and reassurance for passengers, as well as drivers. It also assists author- ities with investigations. “Additionally, with CCTV installed, com- plaint levels could drop. It would also protect drivers from abusive passengers.” Other Councillors voiced concerns at


expecting taxi drivers to spend around £500 on CCTV systems “at the current time”.


Cllr Gee said: “Drivers have worked in very difficult times, so we have to be very generous with the timeline.” Cllr Zamir Khan agreed that mandatory CCTV wouldn’t be appropriate “at the moment”, I think we should give them another six months before consultation.” The committee agreed to launch a con- sultation with the taxi trade in September with a view to bringing in any changes next year.


HACKNEY AND PHVs IN CRAVEN HAVE TO BE FITTED WITH CCTV CAMERAS FROM APRIL


Craven District Council had originally adopted its new taxi policy in June, 2018, and proposed giving owners until April 2020 to get cameras fitted. This was deferred at the time follow- ing concerns from the taxi trade about the cost - between £450- £600 - of having the cameras installed. The Craven Herald reports that at its recent online meeting, the Licensing Committee did consider, due to the pandemic, putting it off again until June 2021 but decided it had been deferred for long enough. It was agreed that all newly licensed hackneys and PHVs must now have cameras fitted, while all renewals are to have cameras fitted from April 2021. However, council members stressed that drivers struggling to comply may


be granted extra time. The meeting was told there were cur- rently 130 hackneys and 15 PHVs operating in Craven. Licensing Officer Tim Chadwick stat- ed the cost of the cameras had always been an important factor which was why implementation had been delayed. He said: “The impor- tance is the fact that the cost of compliance falls to the vehicle propri- etor, although members are aware that this cost needs to be balanced with the key benefit of promoting public and driver safety - a key factor in the implementation of cameras.” It was pointed out that cameras could assist drivers if someone got into their vehicle refusing to wear a face mask.


Cllr David Ireton said he was keen to see cameras installed. They were an important tool in licensing appeals and their installation had been put off long enough, he said. He also asked whether there were ways taxi owners could be helped to pay for the cost. Cllr Andy Solloway said he also believed cameras could be helpful to make sure passengers complied with the wearing of face coverings. Cllr Chris Moorby asked whether taxi drivers could be helped with the cost with some sort of grant, to be paid back at a weekly rate. Chairman, Cllr Simon Myers, said the cameras were needed to protect both passengers and drivers, many of whom were subject to abuse, which could also be racially aggravated.


PHTM applauds those councillors who considered helping drivers with the cost of installing CCTV and for the recognition of the financial plight of our trade right now!


84 FEBRUARY 2021


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