Big Brother-style taxi cameras may come to South West London


The scheme could see taxi companies record cab conversations through CCTV in the near future.


By Michael Cox, Sabrina Parkar, Rachel Stevenson, Nicola Stewart

A Big Brother-style scheme could see South West London taxi companies record cab conversations through CCTV in the near future.

Discussions to introduce surveillance cameras in taxis come after Oxford City Council instructed all its taxi companies to install cameras in their cars.

It has sparked some controversy, with many organisations speaking out against CCTV.

Despite the backlash, some Wimbledon taxi companies appear to be in favour of the idea.

Nick Pickles, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It’s a staggering invasion of privacy.”

He said in some cases CCTV is used as a substitute for real policing.

Mr Pickles added: “There is a strange paradox. Local authorities don’t pay for police officers but pay for cameras.”

A Metropolitan Police press officer said it was a good idea but refused to comment on the extent to which CCTV’s would be replacing police officers.

Mr Khan, Wimbledon Minicabs manager, said: “It is a fantastic idea, particularly in areas where passengers are often drunk.”

He added it would ensure safety for the drivers and reassurance for passengers.

Private taxi firms can introduce CCTV without council approval, as long as they follow the Commissioner’s CCTV Code of Practice.

According to TfL guidelines, all equipment must be installed so as to present no danger to passengers or drivers.

Recorded material must only be used in the event of a serious incident.

Some taxi firms may charge passengers a higher fare to help pay for the £400 surveillance camera installed in each car.

Patricia Green, 65, Isle of Wight, said: “If it is late at night I would be willing to pay more money.

“Women travelling in taxis by themselves are vulnerable. I think if the journey can be recorded that would be good.”

A TfL spokesperson says although there are some plans to introduce CCTV in all London taxis it may not be around for a while.


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