Drivers campaign against taxi CCTV

Private hire drivers, from left to right, Khalil Ahmed, Mukhtar Hussain and Mohsin Cheema with the petition against plans to video and sound record passengers in taxis

Private hire drivers, from left to right, Khalil Ahmed, Mukhtar Hussain and Mohsin Cheema with the petition against plans to video and sound record passengers in taxis

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

A HUNDRED cab drivers have signed a petition against controversial plans to film all conversations in Oxford’s taxis.

They have handed the petition to Oxford City Council over its plan for video and audio recording in the city’s 665 taxis from April and comes as the Information Commissioner continues to review whether the scheme is lawful.

The council says that the scheme would provide greater safety for both drivers and passengers.

Petition organiser and private hire driver Khalil Ahmed, 51, said: “The overwhelming view is that the taxi drivers are against the cameras.

“To me it is an invasion of my, my family’s and my customers’ privacy and our safety.”

The High Wycombe part-time driver said customers are against the plans.

He said: “They do not want their privacy invaded.”

The recordings could only be accessed on request by police or council licensing officers for a specific crime or licensing issue, the council has said.

The plans, approved last year, were backed by the City of Oxford Licensed Taxi Cab Association, which was not available for comment.

Yet Mr Ahmed said: “There are enough laws, there are enough safeguards and there are enough CCTV cameras in Oxford as it is.”

Firms record where the fare was picked up and dropped off and any telephone numbers for security, said Mr Ahmed.

He said drivers are prepared to “chip in” to challenge it in the courts.

Cab firm boss Kevin May lost a legal challenge against Southampton City Council, which is running the same recording system, in December. A district judge said he did not have the power to throw out the plan but said he considered it unlawful and it could be heard at the High Court.

Part-time taxi driver Mohsin Cheema, 30, said: “Most of our local customers are saying they will feel uncomfortable with someone watching them.”

Recording will start when the key is turned in the ignition and stop 30 minutes after it is turned off. Systems must be in place by March 2015.

Clark Brundin, chairman of the council’s hackney carriages and private hire licensing sub committee, said: “The original request for having audio visual recording came from the Hackney carriage and private hire people.

“You might find a single isolated private hire driver who doesn’t like the idea but the companies are keen these should be in cars.”

But the Information Commissioner will have the final say, he said, adding: “I can’t tell you absolutely positively that it is going to go ahead.”

Commissioner spokesman Greg Jones said: “We don’t feel that audio recording is necessary all the time.”

Comments (10)

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11:50am Tue 14 Feb 12

Oxfordfeast says...

What are people doing in the back of taxis that they don't want recording. Or what are the drivers doing that they are so against it!?
What are people doing in the back of taxis that they don't want recording. Or what are the drivers doing that they are so against it!? Oxfordfeast
  • Score: 0

12:29pm Tue 14 Feb 12

davyboy says...

Oxfordfeast wrote:
What are people doing in the back of taxis that they don't want recording. Or what are the drivers doing that they are so against it!?
my point exactly, as posted previously during this debate. given the choice, i would pick one with, rather than without, CCTV. what it does mean, of course, is that if a driver is reported foe bad driving, it will be able to be confirmed. maybe this is what they are scared of, as some of them have poor driving standards! i sometimes wonder if some have licences at all!!!
[quote][p][bold]Oxfordfeast[/bold] wrote: What are people doing in the back of taxis that they don't want recording. Or what are the drivers doing that they are so against it!?[/p][/quote]my point exactly, as posted previously during this debate. given the choice, i would pick one with, rather than without, CCTV. what it does mean, of course, is that if a driver is reported foe bad driving, it will be able to be confirmed. maybe this is what they are scared of, as some of them have poor driving standards! i sometimes wonder if some have licences at all!!! davyboy
  • Score: 0

1:36pm Tue 14 Feb 12

BigAlBiker says...

This might catch some of the unlicensed cabs in Oxford who tout for fares, i think its a great idea for both driver and passenger.
This might catch some of the unlicensed cabs in Oxford who tout for fares, i think its a great idea for both driver and passenger. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 0

1:50pm Tue 14 Feb 12

Stuff-of-Oxford says...

More strict guildlines are need with the 'private hire' taxi/cars, I have worked in garages where drivers would come in with problems that NEEDED sorting eg. worn tyres, shocks ect but would be told too expensive and drive off (maybe 6mth MOT's if driving public about). Even now when I HAVE to get a taxi the noises coming from most of the vehicles makes you wonder A-if the car is actually safe & B-is the driver is safe too.
And have people asked the public what they think about the camaras, I bet if you had a public petition the majority would prefer to have them installed.
also with camaras fitted drivers & public would be safer & the naughty people would less likely to commit crimes in the taxis & if they do then they are caught on camara.
I bet the privet hire guy that got caught with coke (large amount found in his room after being caught with 5 wraps on him in town) would have been supplying from his car.
More strict guildlines are need with the 'private hire' taxi/cars, I have worked in garages where drivers would come in with problems that NEEDED sorting eg. worn tyres, shocks ect but would be told too expensive and drive off (maybe 6mth MOT's if driving public about). Even now when I HAVE to get a taxi the noises coming from most of the vehicles makes you wonder A-if the car is actually safe & B-is the driver is safe too. And have people asked the public what they think about the camaras, I bet if you had a public petition the majority would prefer to have them installed. also with camaras fitted drivers & public would be safer & the naughty people would less likely to commit crimes in the taxis & if they do then they are caught on camara. I bet the privet hire guy that got caught with coke (large amount found in his room after being caught with 5 wraps on him in town) would have been supplying from his car. Stuff-of-Oxford
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Tue 14 Feb 12

Pottermouth says...

As much as I agree it's good looking at passenger safety, I would also consider it an invasion of privacy. It could end up being like taxi cab confessions, people say anything and everything in taxis when they are drunk, and let's be honest, how often does information get stolen? Laptops seem to be left on trains all the time.
As it is don't taxis have cameras in them that take still images every 4 or 5 minutes?
As much as I agree it's good looking at passenger safety, I would also consider it an invasion of privacy. It could end up being like taxi cab confessions, people say anything and everything in taxis when they are drunk, and let's be honest, how often does information get stolen? Laptops seem to be left on trains all the time. As it is don't taxis have cameras in them that take still images every 4 or 5 minutes? Pottermouth
  • Score: 0

8:34pm Tue 14 Feb 12

Alfie Nokes says...

Is this the same Clark Brundin who in 1992 was the founding director of the Saïd Business School?
Is this the same Clark Brundin who in 1992 was the founding director of the Saïd Business School? Alfie Nokes
  • Score: 0

12:22am Wed 15 Feb 12

davyboy says...

lets get the facts straight. the CCTV system is a sealed system, where it can only be accessed by authorised people, ie those who have the passwords and equipment. it will only be accessed on a 'need to know' basis, possibly after an accident or other incident or complaint. the system will 'overwrite' itself after about 28 days, so any problem will need reporting quickly. i still say that the cabbies don't want this because they think they will get caught doing things they shouldn't. but how grateful would they be if the system caught someone who attacked them??
lets get the facts straight. the CCTV system is a sealed system, where it can only be accessed by authorised people, ie those who have the passwords and equipment. it will only be accessed on a 'need to know' basis, possibly after an accident or other incident or complaint. the system will 'overwrite' itself after about 28 days, so any problem will need reporting quickly. i still say that the cabbies don't want this because they think they will get caught doing things they shouldn't. but how grateful would they be if the system caught someone who attacked them?? davyboy
  • Score: 0

5:56am Wed 15 Feb 12

Darkforbid says...

┄“They do not want their
privacy invaded.”┄

Hate the idea, anybody else want their whole working day turned into a movie, anyone like their cab chat recorded, back seat quick outfit change on tape, drunken taxi hot snog.. Hitting u-tube.

Hey if its such a good idea, how come police transports not fitted with the same system?
┄“They do not want their privacy invaded.”┄ Hate the idea, anybody else want their whole working day turned into a movie, anyone like their cab chat recorded, back seat quick outfit change on tape, drunken taxi hot snog.. Hitting u-tube. Hey if its such a good idea, how come police transports not fitted with the same system? Darkforbid
  • Score: 0

6:15am Wed 15 Feb 12

Bart_Simpson1 says...

Quite right Darkforbid. Even when the cabbie is not working and using the cab for personal use everything will still be recorded. Those supporting this, how would you like every minute of your working day, including lunch breaks to be recorded? That includes all the office gossip . As for only authorised access allowed we have heard that before. It can lead to false claims, ie, wife thinks husband is having an affair and accuses a cabbie of something just to look at tapes so see if husband was up to no good. On the tape is two cabbies discussing something (during a break) and someone takes offence after reviewing tape, cabbie can get sacked. Do you want that in your work?
Quite right Darkforbid. Even when the cabbie is not working and using the cab for personal use everything will still be recorded. Those supporting this, how would you like every minute of your working day, including lunch breaks to be recorded? That includes all the office gossip . As for only authorised access allowed we have heard that before. It can lead to false claims, ie, wife thinks husband is having an affair and accuses a cabbie of something just to look at tapes so see if husband was up to no good. On the tape is two cabbies discussing something (during a break) and someone takes offence after reviewing tape, cabbie can get sacked. Do you want that in your work? Bart_Simpson1
  • Score: 0

11:35pm Wed 15 Feb 12

simplicissimus says...

Nice work, lads, and more would support your petition, with better publicity and maybe a petition in Cornmarket over a weekend and 2 weekday early evenings.

Tell the OcityC Big Bro commies where to stick their intrusive surveillance.
Nice work, lads, and more would support your petition, with better publicity and maybe a petition in Cornmarket over a weekend and 2 weekday early evenings. Tell the OcityC Big Bro commies where to stick their intrusive surveillance. simplicissimus
  • Score: 0

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