Legal test for Sheffield taxis CCTV plan

A cctv camera in a taxi mounted near the driver's sun visor
A cctv camera in a taxi mounted near the driver's sun visor
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DRIVERS of black cabs could take Sheffield Council to court over a decision ordering them to fit CCTV cameras in their taxis.

Sheffield Council’s licensing committee has decided that all Hackney carriages should have cameras fitted at a cost of £500 per vehicle to ‘protect public safety’.

Hafeas Rehman, chairman of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association

Hafeas Rehman, chairman of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association

The committee, chaired by Labour councillor John Robson, said the cameras were needed to protect drivers from assaults and also ensure security of passengers.

But the decision has angered members of Sheffield Taxi Trade Association, which represents drivers.

Hafeas Rehman, the organisation’s chairman, said: “We believe the idea of compulsory CCTV cameras is a step too far and are looking into taking the council to court for a judicial review of its decision.

“Taxi drivers should be allowed to decide if they want to install cameras to protect them - but the other reason given by the council is insulting to drivers.

“There have been a very small number of incidents where passengers have been sexually assaulted but forcing us all to fit cameras makes it look like we are not to be trusted.

“The expense also comes after we have been refused permission to increase fares to cope with rising fuel and insurance costs.

“The CCTV system the council wants us to introduce is ridiculous. It would switch on the moment we turn the ignition and stay working for 45 minutes after we have finished driving.”

Sheffield Council said a further meeting would take place with drivers in May to discuss how to implement the new policy.