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Swindon taxis could be fitted with CCTV to catch out criminals

All new taxis in Swindon will be expected to have CCTV installed from April next year if a new plan is approved. And older taxis will be expected to have it installed when their license is up for renewal.

After a period of public consultation requested by Swindon Borough Council’s Licensing Committee – a report will be presented to the committee next week setting out how the policy may be implemented.

The report to the committee sets out for what sort of incidents it might be possible to use CCTV footage. They include: following a report of possible criminal behavior by a passenger or driver / operator; a report of possible conduct by a driver or operator that may indicate that they are not a fit and proper person; any road traffic collision involving a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle either to assist the police in any investigation or to assist the driver or operator and or any passenger in making any insurance claim; to assist the driver or operator in making any insurance claim that may be required from time to time. ”

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The report says that officers cannot identify specific grants from government to help with the cost – but that small business grants are available which might be suitable to use to pay for the installation. When the policy was first mooted by the council’s licensing department in 2019 fears over the cost meant that the committee refrained from making cameras mandatory.

At the time, Andy Lucas of the Swindon Drivers’ Association said: “We are concerned about the cost. Across the fleet of taxis in Swindon, it would not be short of £ 1m. We are also concerned about whether this could jeopardize the contracts we have with other local authorities to transport vulnerable passengers. ”

Now the licensing manager Kathryn Ashton has brought back a draft policy on mandating CCTV with a timetable which would see new taxis needing cameras from April 1. The licensing department’s position is: “The installation of CCTV in licensed vehicles in not a new initiative, and nor is it now uncommon. Some councils have found it to be a deterrent to would-be troublemakers and a source of evidence in cases of disputes between drivers and passengers. ”

The licensing committee meeting will begin at 6pm on Tuesday 28 June at the council offices. It will also be available online.

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