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Should There Be CCTV Cameras In Edinburgh Taxis?

According to the Edinburgh Licensed Taxi Partnership (ELTP), CCTV cameras are essential and in their opinion, such surveillance would greatly reduce the number of taxi-related criminal incidents in nation’s capital. The ELTP represents thousands of cab drivers in the city and says that cameras in cabs would prevent instances of violence and arguing over cab fares. The city council’s regulatory committee will hear the proposal later this year and if it is approved, drivers of black cabs in Edinburgh would be allowed decide if CCTV cameras are fitted to their cabs.

There would be one camera in the driver’s area with two more placed in the passenger’s area. This would cost drivers a total of £400. Les McVay is the chairman of the ELTP and is certain that the introduction of CCTV cameras would greatly reduce the number of problems encountered by cab drivers on a weekly basis. McVay has worked the night-shift as a driver for more than 30 years and received a broken wrist and cracked ribs for his trouble. He believes that the cameras will benefit all parties because if someone knows they are being recorded, they are unlikely to allow incidents to escalate. He points out that it would only be an option rather than a mandatory requirement.

The ELTP is hoping for a positive decision within the next few months and is keen to point out that CCTV footage would go to an independent third party without the driver watching it first. A special code would be needed for anyone to watch the footage with the recording deleted after 30 days.

It has also been noted that CCTV is already in some London black cabs and has been a success. All passengers would be made aware that there were cameras in the cab via a clearly visible sign. James Kelly has been a taxi driver for more than two decades and fully supports the idea of having CCTV cameras in cabs. Kelly was assaulted last year by a man who he wouldn’t pick up because the individual was eating food from a takeaway. His assailant punched the driver through the window. Kelly wanted to get out of his cab but drove away because confronting the person could have led to the situation getting out of control. Kelly says that if he had CCTV, the incident would have been recorded and his assailant would have been punished.

The licensing sub-committee says that the safety of drivers and passengers is their most important concern so they will look into the prospect of adding CCTV carefully. Three of the largest cab companies in the city joined together to form the ELTP which currently represents approximately 5,000 people in the taxi trade.

Source: toomanytaxis.com