Union campaigns against mandatory CCTV cameras in Sheffield taxis

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A union has started a campaign against a council decision to make taxi drivers install CCTV cameras in their cars.

Sheffield City Council made the decision earlier this month, stating the cameras would help reduce abuse and violent attacks.

The cameras would cost taxi and private hire cab drivers about £500 each.

The GMB union said it had written to the council to suggest the cameras should be voluntary and said it would consider taking legal action.

A union spokesman said: "If we cannot revisit this decision with the council we will consider a legal challenge once we have received advice from our solicitors.

"In any event we are also considering organising a large protest by both private hire and black cab drivers in Sheffield to show our dissatisfaction with this decision."

Crime 'reduced'

Hafeas Rehman, chairman of the Sheffield Taxi Trade Association, previously said cameras help drivers, but "shouldn't be mandatory".

"We're all adults. If anyone feels it will enhance their safety they should install one, but not have it actually forced on you just because people think it's a good idea," he said.

The chairman of the council's licensing committee, councillor John Robson, said the results of a trial in 2007 were "overwhelmingly amazing".

He said: "One in seven fares prior to the trial resulted in an incident - whether that was verbal abuse, threats of violence, physical assault, a dispute over the fare, people running off without paying or damage to the taxi.

"During the trial that figure reduced to less than one in 100. Surely the figures speak for themselves."

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