CCTV To Pilot In Taxis

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CCTV security cameras are to be placed in some town centre taxis to monitor passenger behaviour as part of a pilot scheme to help protect taxi drivers from abuse.

The pilot scheme is expected to start in December in time for the busy Christmas period using a number of CCTV cameras in black cabs and private hire taxis. There will be an evaluation of the success of the cameras in early 2007, after which talks will begin with taxi companies about how to extend the scheme further.

The scheme has been developed jointly by the Black Cab Driver Association, the Private Hire Driver Association, the Hackney Carriage Association, and local Police forces.

Councillor Denise Fox, Cabinet Advisor for Community Safety, said: "We believe this scheme will improve the safety of passengers and drivers and we hope that we will be able to reach some agreement with taxi companies to continue the scheme after the pilot."

Any criminal behaviour, whether racist, an assault or robbery, will be captured on CCTV and will be used to assist criminal investigations as well as to improve safety levels.

Mr Hafias Rehman, a member of the Hackney Carriage Association, said: "We are pleased that this scheme is now underway, it has been in development for a long time so its good to see progress being made. It should give passengers more confidence in using taxi services and also provide the drivers of cabs with greater peace of mind."

The introduction of digital CCTV to help protect taxi drivers has followed on from a previous trial whereby CCTV was installed on fire engines in order to protect firefighters.

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