CCTV cameras will be installed in all taxis in Rotherham by early July, it has been announced.
Rotherham Council commissioner Mary Ney said a deadline of July 6 has been set for the town’s taxi drivers to install cameras in their cabs.
The new measure has been introduced in the wake of the town’s grooming scandal – but drivers have said they are being made ‘scapegoats’, with some now pursuing legal action.
Commissioner Ney said that after the policy was agreed last summer as part of tougher licensing measures, discussions have taken place with the Camera Surveillance Commissioner and the Information Commissioner’s Office.
She said alterations had been made to the original proposals in relation to the need for there to be audio recordings as well as the video on every ride.
Commissioner Ney said: “What remains in place is a requirement for audio to be activated whenever there is a vulnerable person or a young person in the vehicle at any time.”
She said it will be possible for both the passenger and the driver to turn on the audio whenever they wish.
“We are asking the trade to invest a fair amount of money in getting these systems in,” she said
There were angry scenes outside Rotherham Town Hall last summer when the new measures were confirmed, with more than 100 drivers holding a protest and dozens participating in ‘go-slow’ drives around town.
The shake-up came after the Jay report revealed the ‘prominent role’ of Rotherham taxi drivers in the abuse of children, while the follow-up Casey inquiry said Rotherham Council needed to ‘get their house in order and regulate taxis effectively’ due to the ‘well-publicised link between taxis and child sexual exploitation in Rotherham that has cast a long shadow over the vast majority of law-abiding drivers’
A 12-month progress report by the commissioners appointed to run Rotherham Council said solicitors have been appointed by some taxi drivers’ organisations in the town.
It said: “During the summer of 2015 there was some resistance from the trade to the changes being proposed, largely concerning the impact of the cost of the new measures.
“More recently some of the trade associations have appointed a solicitor to pursue representations on their behalf.
“However, overall, the trade and individual drivers have continued to cooperate with the changes and some of the anxieties have been abated by the measured approach to adoption and implementation which has been put in place.”