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Shrewsbury taxi drivers back safety camera plan

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Calls have been made for CCTV to be installed in all Shrewsbury taxis to improve driver safety and potentially save council bosses 'hundreds of thousands of pounds' on legal fees.

Calls have been made for CCTV to be installed in all Shrewsbury taxis to improve driver safety and potentially save council bosses 'hundreds of thousands of pounds' on legal fees.

The Shrewsbury Drivers Action Group today said CCTV cameras should be installed in more than 600 Hackney Carriages across the Shrewsbury area to help settle disputes and increase the safety of drivers.

It comes as Oxford City Council agreed for controversial video monitoring to be fitted to all 650 of its black cab and private hire taxis at a cost of £260,000.

Richard Price, chairman of Shrewsbury Drivers Action Group, said the matter would be brought up at their next meeting and could then be raised with Shropshire Council.

He said: "I think it is an excellent idea. Some cabs have the big screens separating the driver from the customer but the majority of them are saloon cars and don't have that. Ninety-nine point nine per cent of customers are really excellent but you've always got the odd one.

"I've only had three serious incidents in over 20 years but they have involved a broken bottle and a knife so it only takes one incident. You could say I'm lucky to be sitting here today so anything that would look to improve driver safety I would call for."

Experts also said far too much money was wasted by councils on legal fees and court proceedings which the introduction of CCTV would drastically reduce.

Patrick Nolan, a licensing consultant living in Shrewsbury, said: "We have noticed a lot of allegations of sexual offences against drivers more recently and these sorts of things would be easily sorted by the introduction of CCTV.

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"It is a brilliant way to solve disputes.

"It is also something which could save the local authority hundreds of thousands of pounds in the long-run on legal fees and prosecutions. Overnight it could reduce their fees.

"Shrewsbury should do as Oxford has done as long as an independent data controller is in place to handle information."

The cameras would record every conversation that took place in a taxi cab and footage gathered would be kept for 28 days. It would only be accessed in the case of a police investigation.

Lynne Towers, Shropshire Council's public health and safety manager, said there were currently no plans in their budget to install CCTV across all taxis in Shrewsbury.

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