Victory for cab drivers over spycams in Southampton taxis

Victory for cabbies over spycams in taxis

Victory for cabbies over spycams in taxis

First published in Politics Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter

CONTROVERSIAL ‘taxicams’ that were ordered to be fitted in all Southampton cabs could now be ripped out after they were ruled illegal.

Hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money was spent on installing the cameras despite opposition from drivers, who themselves took the city council to court in a bid to have the cameras removed.

A tribunal has now ruled that the authority was wrong to insist that all cabs in the city should be fitted with the socalled ‘spy cams’ because they breached human rights by continuously recording conversations.

The council was appealing an enforcement notice by the Information Commissioner who said that while the visual recording was lawful, the audio recording contravened data protection and privacy laws.

During the tribunal the council argued that the footage was vital in the fight against crime.

It cited examples of how the recordings had been used by Hampshire police to help with inquiries 193 times, including offences of sexual assault, racially aggravated abuse and theft.

Sound recordings taken from a cab were even used as evidence against Arben Lleshi, who was convicted earlier this week of the murder of Agim Hoxha.

However, the tribunal ruled that the right to privacy outweighed the crime reduction benefits.

Passengers and drivers, it said, should not reasonably expect to have their conversations continuously monitored as, once fitted, the cameras could not be turned off, even if the vehicle was being used privately by the driver.

The cameras were introduced in 2009 as part of a licensing condition and cost up to £700 each, of which cabbies have to pay about £300. The rest was paid for by the Government.

About half of the 1,000 hackney carriages and private hire cars in Southampton have the cameras installed, costing the taxpayer about £200,000.

The ruling has been welcomed by drivers.

Southampton Trade Association chairman Clive Johnson said: “They were forced on us without, in my opinion, the proper consultation.”

The mandatory equipping of all taxis with cameras has now been suspended.

The city council’s licensing panel will now meet to discuss whether the cameras have to be removed or can be adjusted to disable the sound.

Deputy leader Councillor Jacqui Rayment said: “The tribunal and the Information Commission accept that an unspecified triggered or ‘panic button’ system for audio recordings would be acceptable, although it has not been made clear how this would work in practical terms.”

The city council was not able to comment on how much the court case had cost it.

Comments (20)

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11:54am Fri 22 Feb 13

ToastyTea says...

if you've got nothing to hide why does it matter, when a cabbie gets murdered next or similar I'm sure you'll be thankful you had no cam.
if you've got nothing to hide why does it matter, when a cabbie gets murdered next or similar I'm sure you'll be thankful you had no cam. ToastyTea
  • Score: 0

11:57am Fri 22 Feb 13

Block41row0sfc says...

So cabbies get robbed. Young girls get raped. So we don't need CCTV in taxis but we do on buses.... Clever
So cabbies get robbed. Young girls get raped. So we don't need CCTV in taxis but we do on buses.... Clever Block41row0sfc
  • Score: 0

12:01pm Fri 22 Feb 13

jonnyx says...

"CONTROVERSIAL ‘taxicams’ that were ordered to be fitted in all Southampton cabs could now be ripped out..."

Come on Sian Davies *Senior News Reporter* do you really think/ want us to believe the cams will be *ripped out* why not use the word removed instead. Sloppy use of language for a so-called senior reporter.
"CONTROVERSIAL ‘taxicams’ that were ordered to be fitted in all Southampton cabs could now be ripped out..." Come on Sian Davies *Senior News Reporter* do you really think/ want us to believe the cams will be *ripped out* why not use the word removed instead. Sloppy use of language for a so-called senior reporter. jonnyx
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Fri 22 Feb 13

cowley says...

Ging gang goo.
Money well spent then!
Morons!!
Ging gang goo. Money well spent then! Morons!! cowley
  • Score: 0

12:15pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Jerry Parsons says...

jonnyx wrote:
"CONTROVERSIAL ‘taxicams’ that were ordered to be fitted in all Southampton cabs could now be ripped out..."

Come on Sian Davies *Senior News Reporter* do you really think/ want us to believe the cams will be *ripped out* why not use the word removed instead. Sloppy use of language for a so-called senior reporter.
Rats, you beat me to it.
[quote][p][bold]jonnyx[/bold] wrote: "CONTROVERSIAL ‘taxicams’ that were ordered to be fitted in all Southampton cabs could now be ripped out..." Come on Sian Davies *Senior News Reporter* do you really think/ want us to believe the cams will be *ripped out* why not use the word removed instead. Sloppy use of language for a so-called senior reporter.[/p][/quote]Rats, you beat me to it. Jerry Parsons
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Fri 22 Feb 13

St.DaveH says...

just turn the sound off then....
just turn the sound off then.... St.DaveH
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Forest Resident says...

jonnyx wrote:
"CONTROVERSIAL ‘taxicams’ that were ordered to be fitted in all Southampton cabs could now be ripped out..."

Come on Sian Davies *Senior News Reporter* do you really think/ want us to believe the cams will be *ripped out* why not use the word removed instead. Sloppy use of language for a so-called senior reporter.
She must have got a promotion then, she described herself as a mere 'press officer' in an article of hers earlier in the week. I guess self indulgent winging about being put in her place at a by-election is what it takes to get ahead in a local fish and chip paper producer! ;)
[quote][p][bold]jonnyx[/bold] wrote: "CONTROVERSIAL ‘taxicams’ that were ordered to be fitted in all Southampton cabs could now be ripped out..." Come on Sian Davies *Senior News Reporter* do you really think/ want us to believe the cams will be *ripped out* why not use the word removed instead. Sloppy use of language for a so-called senior reporter.[/p][/quote]She must have got a promotion then, she described herself as a mere 'press officer' in an article of hers earlier in the week. I guess self indulgent winging about being put in her place at a by-election is what it takes to get ahead in a local fish and chip paper producer! ;) Forest Resident
  • Score: 0

12:33pm Fri 22 Feb 13

rickey says...

Block41row0sfc - read the story they can have CCTV but with no sound.

ToastyTea - let's install it in your house just in case and we can all watch you. It has nothing to do with the old chestnut if you have nothing to hide its to all to do with our rights to basic privacy.
Block41row0sfc - read the story they can have CCTV but with no sound. ToastyTea - let's install it in your house just in case and we can all watch you. It has nothing to do with the old chestnut if you have nothing to hide its to all to do with our rights to basic privacy. rickey
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Fri 22 Feb 13

mickey01 says...

they should point them outwards to record the bad driving
they should point them outwards to record the bad driving mickey01
  • Score: 0

12:58pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Tenderhearts wife says...

im glad as it is an infringement of peoples rights,if a crime happens, if need be they can get a lip reader to see what has been said. just because they have made this ruling it doesnt mean crime in taxis will increase. if your that way inclined you will do it anyway.
im glad as it is an infringement of peoples rights,if a crime happens, if need be they can get a lip reader to see what has been said. just because they have made this ruling it doesnt mean crime in taxis will increase. if your that way inclined you will do it anyway. Tenderhearts wife
  • Score: 0

1:17pm Fri 22 Feb 13

loosehead says...

rickey wrote:
Block41row0sfc - read the story they can have CCTV but with no sound.

ToastyTea - let's install it in your house just in case and we can all watch you. It has nothing to do with the old chestnut if you have nothing to hide its to all to do with our rights to basic privacy.
Are Taxi drivers allowed to live in their cabs?
So I guess it's okay now for supermarket/shop workers to ask for instore CCTV to be turned off as it's encroaching on their Human Rights?
how many companies use CCTV's in the work place?
Unless your up to no good what was the problem with Taxi's having them?
Just after this was in the paper first time around a Taxi driver was attacked so there is the need for them for Taxi drivers safety as well as ours the customers safety.
So we should all refuse to use a taxi unless it's fitted with a CCTV which is working.
if enough of us request a taxi with CCTV when booking one I wonder how many will be removed?
[quote][p][bold]rickey[/bold] wrote: Block41row0sfc - read the story they can have CCTV but with no sound. ToastyTea - let's install it in your house just in case and we can all watch you. It has nothing to do with the old chestnut if you have nothing to hide its to all to do with our rights to basic privacy.[/p][/quote]Are Taxi drivers allowed to live in their cabs? So I guess it's okay now for supermarket/shop workers to ask for instore CCTV to be turned off as it's encroaching on their Human Rights? how many companies use CCTV's in the work place? Unless your up to no good what was the problem with Taxi's having them? Just after this was in the paper first time around a Taxi driver was attacked so there is the need for them for Taxi drivers safety as well as ours the customers safety. So we should all refuse to use a taxi unless it's fitted with a CCTV which is working. if enough of us request a taxi with CCTV when booking one I wonder how many will be removed? loosehead
  • Score: 0

1:24pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Lone Ranger. says...

Many fail to realise that quite often taxis are the property of the driver ..... Therefore they drive them during their time off. They take their families out for the day ............... So why should they have their private lives and space invaded by CCTV in their cars.
Many fail to realise that quite often taxis are the property of the driver ..... Therefore they drive them during their time off. They take their families out for the day ............... So why should they have their private lives and space invaded by CCTV in their cars. Lone Ranger.
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Fri 22 Feb 13

SotonLad says...

I heard recently about a taxi driver that was stood behind the taxi in the rank when he was attacked by a drunk. He pushed him away and the drunk fell suffering serious head injuries. The CCTV camera in his cab captured the incident and backed up his story. In the future he would probably be charged and a jury would decide his fate!
I heard recently about a taxi driver that was stood behind the taxi in the rank when he was attacked by a drunk. He pushed him away and the drunk fell suffering serious head injuries. The CCTV camera in his cab captured the incident and backed up his story. In the future he would probably be charged and a jury would decide his fate! SotonLad
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Raxx says...

I find it hard to believe that it's impossible to install a camera that's linked to the meter. When the meter is on (even when not running) the cabbie's at work, and the camera can be operational. When the car's being used privately, the meter's off, and no recording happens. This can't be beyond the ken of man FFS.
I find it hard to believe that it's impossible to install a camera that's linked to the meter. When the meter is on (even when not running) the cabbie's at work, and the camera can be operational. When the car's being used privately, the meter's off, and no recording happens. This can't be beyond the ken of man FFS. Raxx
  • Score: 0

3:51pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Block41row0sfc says...

loosehead wrote:
rickey wrote:
Block41row0sfc - read the story they can have CCTV but with no sound.

ToastyTea - let's install it in your house just in case and we can all watch you. It has nothing to do with the old chestnut if you have nothing to hide its to all to do with our rights to basic privacy.
Are Taxi drivers allowed to live in their cabs?
So I guess it's okay now for supermarket/shop workers to ask for instore CCTV to be turned off as it's encroaching on their Human Rights?
how many companies use CCTV's in the work place?
Unless your up to no good what was the problem with Taxi's having them?
Just after this was in the paper first time around a Taxi driver was attacked so there is the need for them for Taxi drivers safety as well as ours the customers safety.
So we should all refuse to use a taxi unless it's fitted with a CCTV which is working.
if enough of us request a taxi with CCTV when booking one I wonder how many will be removed?
thank you could not have writ it any better.

Now wondering if Ricky is a taxi driver himself.
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]rickey[/bold] wrote: Block41row0sfc - read the story they can have CCTV but with no sound. ToastyTea - let's install it in your house just in case and we can all watch you. It has nothing to do with the old chestnut if you have nothing to hide its to all to do with our rights to basic privacy.[/p][/quote]Are Taxi drivers allowed to live in their cabs? So I guess it's okay now for supermarket/shop workers to ask for instore CCTV to be turned off as it's encroaching on their Human Rights? how many companies use CCTV's in the work place? Unless your up to no good what was the problem with Taxi's having them? Just after this was in the paper first time around a Taxi driver was attacked so there is the need for them for Taxi drivers safety as well as ours the customers safety. So we should all refuse to use a taxi unless it's fitted with a CCTV which is working. if enough of us request a taxi with CCTV when booking one I wonder how many will be removed?[/p][/quote]thank you could not have writ it any better. Now wondering if Ricky is a taxi driver himself. Block41row0sfc
  • Score: 0

5:18pm Fri 22 Feb 13

Tenderhearts wife says...

Raxx wrote:
I find it hard to believe that it's impossible to install a camera that's linked to the meter. When the meter is on (even when not running) the cabbie's at work, and the camera can be operational. When the car's being used privately, the meter's off, and no recording happens. This can't be beyond the ken of man FFS.
This would be the solution because as lone ranger says some of the taxis are owned by the driver and used during time off for personal use. people are miss reading the article, it is just the recording of conversations that are the issue, if you are in a shop your conversations are not being recorded it is just visual.
[quote][p][bold]Raxx[/bold] wrote: I find it hard to believe that it's impossible to install a camera that's linked to the meter. When the meter is on (even when not running) the cabbie's at work, and the camera can be operational. When the car's being used privately, the meter's off, and no recording happens. This can't be beyond the ken of man FFS.[/p][/quote]This would be the solution because as lone ranger says some of the taxis are owned by the driver and used during time off for personal use. people are miss reading the article, it is just the recording of conversations that are the issue, if you are in a shop your conversations are not being recorded it is just visual. Tenderhearts wife
  • Score: 0

6:08pm Fri 22 Feb 13

bigfella777 says...

They were never fitted to deter or for solving crime.
They were fitted after the number of complaints against city cab drivers soared after the council licensed drivers who were not fit for the job as they were challenged that it was discrimination to insist that potential taxi drivers should be able to speak fluent English.
Another example of PC Britain gone mad and the chaos that it causes.
They were never fitted to deter or for solving crime. They were fitted after the number of complaints against city cab drivers soared after the council licensed drivers who were not fit for the job as they were challenged that it was discrimination to insist that potential taxi drivers should be able to speak fluent English. Another example of PC Britain gone mad and the chaos that it causes. bigfella777
  • Score: 0

6:41pm Fri 22 Feb 13

cantthinkofone says...

bigfella777 wrote:
They were never fitted to deter or for solving crime.
They were fitted after the number of complaints against city cab drivers soared after the council licensed drivers who were not fit for the job as they were challenged that it was discrimination to insist that potential taxi drivers should be able to speak fluent English.
Another example of PC Britain gone mad and the chaos that it causes.
And the Oscar best non-sequitur in the comments of a provincial newspaper goes to......
[quote][p][bold]bigfella777[/bold] wrote: They were never fitted to deter or for solving crime. They were fitted after the number of complaints against city cab drivers soared after the council licensed drivers who were not fit for the job as they were challenged that it was discrimination to insist that potential taxi drivers should be able to speak fluent English. Another example of PC Britain gone mad and the chaos that it causes.[/p][/quote]And the Oscar best non-sequitur in the comments of a provincial newspaper goes to...... cantthinkofone
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Fri 22 Feb 13

elvisimo says...

Tenderhearts wife wrote:
im glad as it is an infringement of peoples rights,if a crime happens, if need be they can get a lip reader to see what has been said. just because they have made this ruling it doesnt mean crime in taxis will increase. if your that way inclined you will do it anyway.
Lip reader. Wouldn't help if Keith Harris or Rodger de courcey were the passengers would it.
[quote][p][bold]Tenderhearts wife[/bold] wrote: im glad as it is an infringement of peoples rights,if a crime happens, if need be they can get a lip reader to see what has been said. just because they have made this ruling it doesnt mean crime in taxis will increase. if your that way inclined you will do it anyway.[/p][/quote]Lip reader. Wouldn't help if Keith Harris or Rodger de courcey were the passengers would it. elvisimo
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Sat 23 Feb 13

cantthinkofone says...

elvisimo wrote:
Tenderhearts wife wrote:
im glad as it is an infringement of peoples rights,if a crime happens, if need be they can get a lip reader to see what has been said. just because they have made this ruling it doesnt mean crime in taxis will increase. if your that way inclined you will do it anyway.
Lip reader. Wouldn't help if Keith Harris or Rodger de courcey were the passengers would it.
Or anyone wearing a baseball cap. It's also far less likely to stand up in court.
[quote][p][bold]elvisimo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tenderhearts wife[/bold] wrote: im glad as it is an infringement of peoples rights,if a crime happens, if need be they can get a lip reader to see what has been said. just because they have made this ruling it doesnt mean crime in taxis will increase. if your that way inclined you will do it anyway.[/p][/quote]Lip reader. Wouldn't help if Keith Harris or Rodger de courcey were the passengers would it.[/p][/quote]Or anyone wearing a baseball cap. It's also far less likely to stand up in court. cantthinkofone
  • Score: 0

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