Views of passengers and operators hailed as CCTV considered for taxi safety
Should CCTV inside taxis be standard? That is one of the questions being posed to the taxi industry and passengers as a consultation launches on a council licensing policy.
South Cambridgeshire District Council is launching a consultation tomorrow (Wednesday 1 November) on a new policy that councillors have said puts the safety of people using taxis at its heart and makes it clear that anyone with a previous serious criminal conviction will not be granted a licence.
The new policy out for consultation suggests setting one of the highest bars in the country that drivers and vehicles must pass before being granted a licence.
Councillors have said that making CCTV mandatory for all licensed vehicles could help protect drivers as well as provide evidence of any reported incidents by passengers. The CCTV would only record inside the vehicles.
The Council is also looking to make it even easier for wheelchair users to use cabs and the draft policy is suggesting that all Hackney carriages – taxis that do not need to be pre-booked – need to be fully wheelchair accessible. This would apply to all new and renewed licences.
Other key issues the Council is asking people to give their views on include:
- the introduction of safeguarding training so all drivers can more easily spot and report any concerns relating to their passengers’ wellbeing
- more frequent medical checks for drivers – current policies already set the same checks as a HGV driver
- a knowledge test for all applicants to make sure they have a good understanding of the area, places of interest and English and arithmetic.
- one of the tightest convictions policies in the country
The Council committed to a review of the licensing policy at the beginning of the year to make sure it continues to meet the needs of local people.
The consultation was agreed on Friday 27 October after the Council’s Licensing Committee agreed the draft they wanted to encourage views on.
The consultation launches on Wednesday 1 November and closes on Friday 5 January.
Cllr Alex Riley, Chairman of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Licensing Committee, said: “We’ve thrown down the gauntlet to the taxi industry and passengers on this policy and really want to hear what they have to say.
“The draft we are consulting on has set a very high bar, including the use of technology to make sure both drivers and taxi users feel safe and reassured. Once the consultation closes we will assess what everyone has said and then the committee will meet again to finalise the policy we set.
“Please make sure you have your say as your views will be taken into account.”
The Council currently licences just over 1,000 taxis with around 90% being private hire vehicles that must be pre-booked.
To have your say on the consultation, visit www.scambs.gov.uk/taxi-licences
For more information please contact Gareth Bell in South Cambridgeshire District Council’s communications team on 01954 713289 or Gareth.firstname.lastname@example.org