Should it be compulsory to have CCTV within Taxis licensed by Rother District Council?
We would like you to tell us your views on your safety in taxis and if CCTV should be made compulsory. What you tell us will help the council decide if this is a measure that is worth pursuing further or if it is not appropriate for Rother.
We would particularly like to hear from taxi companies and drivers, organisations that work with vulnerable groups using taxi services and current passengers.
Here is some background information to tell you about the subject.
This research is open until 12 noon on Friday, 20th January 2023.
The Licensing Authority (the council) are consulting you on whether CCTV within taxis (hackney carriages and private hire vehicles) would have a positive or adverse effect on the safety of passengers and users, including children and vulnerable adults.
We need to consider the safety of those who use taxis but also take account of the effect on their privacy while using the vehicle.
The government’s view is that CCTV can provide a safer environment for the benefit of taxi passengers and drivers by;
- Deterring and preventing the occurrence of crime;
- Reduce the fear of crime;
- Assist the police in investigating incidents of crime;
- Assist insurance companies in investigating motor vehicle accidents.
Making the use of CCTV in vehicles compulsory (mandatory) may discourage people that are intent on causing harm from applying to have a taxi licence. Those that hold a licence may also change their behaviour.
CCTV systems that can record sound (audio) as well as visual data may also help in the early identification of drivers and passengers that are demonstrating inappropriate behaviour. When sound recordings are being made it must however be obvious to everyone within the vehicle that the recording is happening.
The sound (audio) recording facility would also be targeted, it should only be turned on when it is required to by either the passenger or driver and this should only be for a limited period. The sound record would provide a fair or unbiased record of events and help where there are disputes or where behaviour was inappropriate. The sound should also not be recording continuously when there is no requirement or concern from either the driver or passenger, this will assist in protecting the privacy of passengers who may be speaking to each other.
There are concerns about having a blanket condition requiring CCTV in all Rother’s licensed vehicle’s, some people may not feel it is entirely proportionate or worth insisting on. The guidance does state that there must be a strong justification for doing so and for maintaining such a condition if developed. We would need to keep any condition under review.
There is some detailed Government guidance within the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Standards document about the use of CCTV’s. This is in an Annex and the standard can be found on the governments .gov website. The link to the section within the standards is set out below:
There are important considerations about who is the data controller and about data protection. The driver and data controller would need to have adequate arrangements in place to protect privacy, data, a secure CCTV system and procedures to ensure that don’t contravene best practice and statutory guidance. This is complicated as the data is potentially very sensitive and would need to be stored, processed and dealt with securely. It is essential that recordings would only be accessed by those with a proper reason for doing so, normally this would be the police or Licensing Authority (the council).
Would also need to identify who acts as the data controller; in the guidance one option is that the Licensing Authority (the council) fulfils this role. This may be complicated by ICT restrictions that exist within local authorities who have increasingly high security restrictions that limit what externally generated data can be uploaded and stored on our secure servers.
Installing the CCTV system, and having procedures in place to maintain, monitor and manage the system and information will entail an additional cost for drivers, vehicle proprietors and potentially operators.
Hackney Carriage – These vehicles can be picked up from a taxi rank and have a light fitted on the vehicle which indicates that you can hail them from the side of the road to take you to a destination.
Private Hire Vehicle – These vehicles need to be pre booked via a booking number and have to be booked in advance. Cannot pick up from a rank or stop if hailed from the side of the road.
Licences held by Drivers allow them to operate a hackney carriage and/or private hire vehicle (Dual Driver Licence).
How to Take Part in this Consultation
This consultation closed on Friday 20th January 2023