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A pilot to trial CCTV in taxis licensed by Telford & Wrekin Council is being introduced to see whether it makes drivers and passengers feel safer.

Funding of £13,000 from the Police and Crime Commissioner will pay for cameras to be fitted in 20 vehicles.

The aim of the pilot is to gauge whether filming in private hire or hackney carriages deters crime and anti-social behaviour.

Steven is a taxi driver operating in the borough and said: “I think the CCTV pilot is a very good idea and I am more than happy to take part. Having CCTV in my taxi makes me feel safer when working at night.

PCC John Campion said: “I am pleased to see this technology used to keep our communities safe. I have heard too often that commuters don’t feel safe and a taxi should be a safe place. I have a huge amount of respect for taxi drivers who play an important role in our society. Speaking to taxi drivers they often get verbally abused, especially on evenings, this is not acceptable.

“I hope this trial helps to deter this behaviour from happening and offers reassurance to both drives and passengers. I look forward to seeing the results of the pilot to see what affect the cameras are having on their safety.”

Deputy leader for Telford & Wrekin Council and cabinet member for housing, enforcement and transport, Richard Overton said:

“This is a voluntary scheme in partnership with West Mercia Police to gather feedback from drivers and passengers about whether CCTV helps them feel safer.

“We know that CCTV acts as a visible deterrent to crime. From the driver’s point of view, having a camera in their cab may make them feel less vulnerable to attacks or fare dodging. In addition to the stringent checks our council licensing officers make, passengers may feel further reassured knowing they are being filmed.”

The cameras will not record sound except in an emergency to protect passengers’ privacy. Footage will only be accessed if there is a complaint, or the driver or passenger makes a request to see it.

Signage will be displayed inside and outside the vehicle telling passengers the vehicle is fitted with CCTV and how to request a recording.

Telford & Wrekin Council will be responsible for the data rather than the driver, giving the public confidence there will not be any unauthorised access.