Inverclyde Council has reversed a ban on in-cab CCTV cameras following a series of attacks on drivers in the area.
In a landmark decision, councillors voted unanimously to allow operators to have cameras in their cabs, following pressure from local trade bodies and unions. In particular, one attack last August, which left a driver scarred for life, forced the change.
The council hopes the CCTV cameras will help prevent crime and assist insurance companies in investigating insurance fraud incidents.
Councillors also backed a motion from Cllr Martin McCluskey to instruct officers to run a public consultation on the use of dashcams in taxis and private hire cars, with the intention of integrating the outcome into the new policy at a later date.
Cllr McCluskey said: “I think it’s going to make a really big difference to people and I know it’s something that for a long time operators and taxi drivers in the area have asked for. I don’t think it’s going to make things better just in terms of safety for drivers but I think it’s going to improve safety for passengers as well and hopefully also give those who are thinking of entering the trade a bit of reassurance.”
He added: “We have a shortage of taxi drivers in Inverclyde at the moment and it would be good to see more people enter the trade. Hopefully this will provide people with more reassurance about their safety because I know that’s been a barrier in the past.”
A consultation on the installation of cameras in local cabs last September received unanimous support from the six major taxi operators in the area. All taxis and PHVs with CCTV will be required to display signage indicating that it is in operation and explaining the purpose of the recording.
Images stored in the CCTV system can be retained for a maximum of 31 days, with the policy also setting out requirements around the use of the recordings.
The approved document states that the systems should not be used to record conversations between members of the public as it is ‘highly intrusive’ and says that the CCTV should not have a sound recording facility wherever possible.