Rotherham abuse survivors calls for CCTV in Sheffield taxis

Taxis queuing outside Sheffield railway station.
Taxis queuing outside Sheffield railway station.
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Rotherham abuse survivors and their families are calling for CCTV cameras to be introduced into all Sheffield taxis.

A steering group involving survivors are meeting with Sheffield Council officials next week to discuss their proposals for tougher licensing measures in the wake of the child abuse scandal.

The group has already successfully campaigned for tougher laws for taxis in Rotherham - which has resulted in CCTV being made compulsory for all cabs from this July, despite protests from some drivers’ groups.

Now the steering group are speaking to councils across the country in a bid to get them to introduce similar measures after the role of taxi drivers in Rotherham’s abuse scandal was brought to light.

They say CCTV cameras will make things ‘safer for all passengers and drivers’.

Professor Alexis Jay’s inquiry in August 2014 – which found that at least 1,400 children had been victims of sexual exploitation in Rotherham over 16 years – had noted the ‘prominent role’ of taxi drivers in such offending.

Louise Casey’s follow-up report for the Government in February 2015 said the ‘well-publicised link between taxis and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham continues to cast a long shadow over the vast majority of law-abiding drivers who make their living from the taxi trade.’

Other measures being proposed by the Rotherham steering group for councils across the country include training on child sexual exploitation for drivers and enhanced security checks to ensure only fit and proper people are allowed to drive taxis.

It is suggested by the group that all the potential costs for installing cameras and dealing with the other regulations are covered by drivers themselves as they are tax-deductible expenses.

The group’s suggestions on taxi licensing are part of a national plan they are creating with the aim of preventing and reducing child sexual exploitation.

They have also come up with proposals for changes to the licensing of hotels, bed and breakfasts and takeaways - as well as ideas on how public sector agencies can support victims of such abuse.

Katie, the sister of a Rotherham abuse survivor and a member of the steering group, said: “We are contacting all councils throughout the UK to put our suggestions in place as we feel this can reduce all forms of crime.”