Row over CCTV in Sheffield taxis

Hafeas Rehman, chairman of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association
Hafeas Rehman, chairman of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association
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Taxi drivers in Sheffield will use government guidelines in their fight against compulsory CCTV cameras in cabs.

A Home Office document will be used to throw weight behind opposition to Sheffield Council’s controversial decision to introduce a mandatory requirement for cameras.

The licencing committee voted in favour in February, saying it would help to reduce abuse and violent attacks.

But Sheffield Taxi Trade Association says central government stipulates CCTV should only be attached to the conditions of a licence where there is cause for concern.

Drivers are preparing to present the document to the council ahead of a review into the decision next month.

Hafeas Rehman, chairman of Sheffield Taxi Trade Association, said: “This shows what the Government are thinking – that unless there is real evidence to support the need then it should not be enforced.

“Cameras cost up to £1,500 and, of course, money is an issue but it is secondary.

“We have done a lot of work with organisations to make better drivers and better citizens.”

Last year, the council refused or revoked licences of 23 hackney carriage drivers. Of those, 19 appealed at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court and 17 won their case.

Mr Rehman said: “The council are very cautious but they are right to be.

“We are saying that if we meet their strict criteria then the council should trust us. It damages public trust in the taxi business too.”

A Home Office spokesman said ‘a blanket requirement’ for cameras ‘ must be kept under regular review’.

He added: “Use of a surveillance camera system must always be for a specified purpose which is in pursuit of a legitimate aim and necessary to meet an identified pressing need.”