THE UK’s data watchdog is investigating a complaint about controversial moves to record all conversations in Oxford’s taxis.

The Information Commissioner said it had received a complaint from a member of the public over Oxford City Council’s plans.

It follows an outcry over the scheme, which council chiefs and taxi leaders say is vital to protect drivers from attacks and allegations.

A civil liberties group said the cameras – which have to be in all 662 taxis by March 2015 – are an invasion of privacy.

They would record video and sound as soon as the key is turned in the ignition and for 30 minutes after it is switched off.

Footage would only be accessed by a council officer or police when investigating specific allegations.

Commissioner spokesman Greg Jones said: “We have received a complaint and are making inquiries.”

He said councils “must take account of people’s right to privacy” and take measures “proportionate” to safety concerns.

Council spokesman Louisa Dean said: “We have had an inquiry from the Information Commissioner who wishes to better understand the CCTV scheme.

“We are happy to assist in those inquiries.”

Alan Woodward, general secretary of the City of Oxford Licensed Taxi Cab Association, has stepped down after 16 years.

He cited the row and “personal reasons” for his decision.

Mr Woodward, who backs the CCTV scheme, said: “The drivers don’t seem to know what they want. They need to make up their mind.”