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‘Must we wait until a driver is murdered before we have CCTV in Derby cabs?’

today16 September 2022 1

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Councillors have expressed dismay over a call not to make CCTV cameras in Derby taxis mandatory, with one asking “do we have to wait until there is a death?” A Derby City Council licensing meeting saw councillors raise deep concerns after Derbyshire police released details of almost 200 serious incidents involving taxis across the county.

But despite this, the majority of the councillors on the licensing committee – mainly Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors – voted in favour of a council recommendation not to yet pursue action in making CCTV cameras in taxis compulsory due to a lack of evidence. However it was also voted that the council will continue to monitor police incidents and review the situation again in six months’ time.

Ahead of Thursday night’s meeting (September 15) police released minor details of 176 incidents in Derbyshire involving taxis within a six-month period. The police details released only give a description of the alleged incidents between February and August this year but not what happened following the allegations.

Read more: Get the latest Derby City Council stories from Derbyshire Live

One of the incidents dated April 6 said: “Taxi driver threatened with knife, knife put to his throat.” Other incidents gave details of drivers asking for “sexual favours” and drivers being threatened by passengers. But council officers in a report said that the evidence by police was not enough to warrant a mandatory requirement for CCTV installation.

The report said: “Officers have evaluated the data and are of the opinion that the data collected does not show that there are local circumstances within Derby which indicate that the installation of CCTV would benefit users and/or drivers taking into account any potential privacy issues at this time. The subject, however, is fluid and can be revisited should the situation change or trends identified.”

Mike Kay, head of Services at Derby City Council, said at the meeting the number of incidents reported to police was considered “low” given the number of drivers licensed in Derby and the number of journeys undertaken by licensed vehicles. But this reflection caused concern among Conservative and Reform Derby councillors on the licensing committee.

Conservative councillor Ged Potter, who serves Allestree, said: “Appendix 2 (the police incidents) is of some considerable concern. I believe this information from police needs expanding and we need to ask further questions. There are 176 reported incidents – some are extremely serious in just under seven months – roughly 25 per month. It’s not just against taxi drivers.” Councillor Potter then proposed deferring a decision based on getting further information from the police authorities.

Reform Derby councillor John Evans said the police details showed urgent action was needed. He said: “I just noticed some of the items listed as potential offences. There’s one saying someone had a knife to the throat of a taxi driver, a knife to the throat.

“I mean what are we going to do? Wait until we get a death? I wouldn’t want to be sitting here in a few months and saying we have had an incident and a taxi driver has been murdered.”

But Cllr Potter’s proposal for deferral was lost. He then made a second proposal to say the evidence given was justifiable in making CCTVs in taxis mandatory – this was again lost. A third motion by Cllr Potter calling on the matter to be discussed in January when all data had been fully investigated was also lost.

A motion was then put forward by Liberal Democrat councillor Ajit Atwal to accept the recommendation not to mandate CCTV in Derby taxis but to continue to monitor police incidents and bring back a report in six months’ time. Labour councillor Nadine Peatfield said: “It’s an interesting list that’s been gathered over the last six months. And obviously as pointed out it’s a small proportion of the amount of journeys that have been taken.

“But I think this is something that should be monitored. When you look at the list quite a few of the incidents occur outside of the taxi so cameras inside wouldn’t actually make a difference.”

Councillor Atwal’s proposal got the majority of votes. Another decision will be made next year.

Written by: Admin

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