SAFETY for passengers and drivers in Oxford’s taxis is a significant concern, but not one that allows council officials to ride roughshod over rights to reasonable privacy.

Oxford City Council’s scheme to introduce CCTV for all the city’s 662 licensed taxis had already proved controversial before we discovered that all conversations would be recorded as well.

Such a blanket scheme would seem to breach the Information Commissioner’s code of practice on the issue. It says recording conversations is unlikely to be justified and that sound on CCTV should usually be turned off. It refers to recording in a cab occurring only if a panic button is pressed.

Yet Oxford City Council does not believe it is flouting this code, saying the risk of intrusion is acceptable compared to public safety.

Recording conversations would be justified if assaults, sex attacks or fraud was constantly being committed in our taxis.

But the council says it no longer has any figures to back up its case.

Do you really think, out of the thousands of trips being made in taxis every month, that in any but a tiny fraction a crime is committed?

The city council is trying to be thorough and protect people rather than having any sinister motive.

But it clearly needs to revise this scheme because it is on the wrong road over privacy.