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People in Gosport will be safer thanks to Police Commissioner’s call to mandate CCTV taxis

09 August 2023

Gosport Borough Council has pledged to introduce mandatory CCTV in taxis and private hire vehicles following a deputation made by Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones at the council’s Regulatory Board meeting on July 26.

The deputation made by the Commissioner read: ‘At the beginning of June I wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP, to ask him to change national licensing guidance to mandate CCTV in taxis and private hire vehicles.’

‘This follows the conviction of a taxi driver in Southampton in May 2023 who was jailed for sexually assaulting a woman. The CCTV evidence in the taxi led to the conviction and prevented the victim from having to go through a trial due to the conclusive evidence.’

‘Portsmouth and Southampton City Councils licensing requirements for Hackneys and private hire already require CCTV to be fitted and I am calling for all Councils in Hampshire and Isle of Wight to follow suit with Gosport being the first to consider this issue.’

The council’s Regulatory Board agreed that CCTV shall be mandatory for all new Gosport taxis and private hire vehicles. CCTV is to be added by 1 April 2025 to all existing Gosport taxis and private hire vehicles for the protection of passengers and drivers.

It also agreed to introduce six-monthly DBS checks for drivers, and to start drug testing for new applicants and random drug testing for licensed drivers.

Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones said: “I’m delighted Gosport Borough Council has responded to my call for all councils in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to mandate CCTV cameras in taxis.

“This move makes Gosport the first borough council in the county to show its commitment to keeping its residents safe.

“The introduction of regular background criminal checks and drug testing for new applicants and randomly for licensed drivers is also welcome.

“My ambition as Commissioner is to encourage all councils follow suit. At a national level, I will continue to lobby the government to make sure passengers and drivers alike are afforded the maximum protection.

The council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Robert Hylands, said: “Board members considered the powerful evidence in favour of CCTV and other security measures. I’m very proud that Gosport is leading the way among smaller councils in the county to help make taxis safer.”