Taxis in Rotherham are being fitted with CCTV cameras in an effort to rebuild trust in the town’s taxi industry.
Drivers have until July 6 to fit the cameras, which are now a requirement under Rotherham Council’s new Taxi and Hackney Carriage policy
Council Commissioner Mary Ney said: “The council believes the cameras will provide protection, confidence and reassurance to the public when they are travelling in a taxi...
“The system also provides protection to taxi drivers who can experience abusive behaviour.
“The new camera rules are just one part of the policy which has been introduced to support drivers to do their job, by rebuilding trust and confidence.” She added: “All drivers have known about the requirement for taxi cameras since last summer.”
The system will record video footage from inside the vehicle, and in some cases outside the vehicle, whenever the vehicle is being used as a taxi.
Whenever an unaccompanied child or vulnerable adult is being carried in the vehicle, audio recording must be activated by the driver.
But both the driver and the passenger can also activate the audio recording at any time.
Only people authorised by the Council can access any recorded footage. Drivers will be unable to access footage.
The Council will only download the footage in certain circumstances, such as if there is a complaint or incident involving a taxi, or if the Council wants to check that the system is being used properly.
The Council can easily check if a vehicle was being used as a taxi at a particular time by referring to records held by the private hire company that the taxi is working for.
The Council does not require the systems to be active during the times that the system is not being used as a taxi, so there will be no intrusion into the private lives of drivers and their families.
Commissioner Ney added: “The camera system will provide protection for both passengers and the driver, and there needs to be the correct balance between protecting people and making sure that there is no breach of people’s rights to privacy.
“The driver is required to make sure that the system is operating correctly when the taxi is working. We will carry out random checks including downloading footage from the systems to verify that the systems are being used as required by the Council’s policy. If they are not then drivers may have their licence suspended or revoked.”
The new Rotherham Council Taxi and Hackney Carriage policy sets out in detail the requirements of drivers which include checks of criminal records, social care and other agencies, motoring offences, the drivers’ track record and previous licensing history. The policy also sets standards concerning the safety of vehicles.
To read the new rules go to www.rotherham.gov.uk/info/200094/taxis_and_minicabs