TfL are reviewing the use of in-vehicle closed circuit television (CCTV) in London’s black cab taxis and private hire vehicles.

In 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT)’s statutory guidance required all licensing authorities to consult if there are local circumstances which indicate that the installation of CCTV in vehicles would have either a positive or an adverse net effect on the safety of taxi and PHV users, including children or vulnerable adults, and taking into account potential privacy issues.

The guidance stated: “All licensing authorities should consult to identify if there are local circumstances which indicate that the installation of CCTV in vehicles would have either a positive or an adverse net effect on the safety of taxi and private hire vehicle users, including children or vulnerable adults,and taking into account potential privacy issues.”

In response, Transport for London has launched a consultation seeking respondents’ views on the following:

  • Whether or not you think all taxis (black cabs) and PHVs (including minicabs) in London should have in-vehicle CCTV fitted as a mandatory requirement or whether the current position of allowing vehicle owners to choose to fit in-vehicle CCTV systems should be maintained
  • What are your views of the local considerations to take into account in London and how this affects whether in-vehicle CCTV should be mandatory in all London licensed taxis and PHVs
  • What positive impacts you think could be achieved if in-vehicle CCTV was in operation in all London licensed taxis and PHVs
  • What adverse impacts you think may arise if in-vehicle CCTV was in operation in all London licensed taxis and PHVs

At the moment, TfL are not consulting on specific proposals, instead it will “carefully consider” comments before determining the next steps which could include a second consultation.

At present, taxi and PHV owners can choose whether to install in-vehicle CCTV in their vehicles.  Research has shown that in London, less than 10% of taxi and PHV drivers have in-vehicle CCTV installed in their vehicle.

It is worth noting that in-vehicle CCTV does not include external/road facing cameras such as dashcams.

The consultation closes on Monday 22 March 2021.

 

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in taxi and private hire licensing law, appeals and defence.

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