A COLCHESTER city councillor has called for mandatory CCTV cameras in the city's taxis following a reported increase in abuse faced by cabbies.

Labour councillor Dave Harris put forward a motion calling for the council to lobby central government to make it mandatory for there to be security cameras in Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles.

Mr Harris said that in September one taxi driver had been slapped around the face by a customer.

Mr Harris said he wanted to be very clear that in his motion, which passed unanimously, that central government should pay for any installation and change – not private companies or the council.

Gazette: National - Councillor Dave Harris wants mandatory cameras in taxis across the whole countryNational - Councillor Dave Harris wants mandatory cameras in taxis across the whole country (Image: Newsquest)

“I don’t like calling it CCTV. They would only get used if it is against the driver or the person,” he said.

“We have to make sure, just like buses, just like trains, just like every convenience store, you have cameras.”

Regarding the safety of the “travelling public”, he added: “If your mum or my mum was in there, you would want that protection.”

He estimates around 90 per cent of taxi drivers may already have cameras, but these done on phones could be of insufficient quality.

Gazette: Cabs - Colchester High Street's Taxi Rank Cabs - Colchester High Street's Taxi Rank (Image: Newsquest)

Richard Ford, owner of Colchester-based Aardvark Travels, said most drivers he knew had their own form of CCTV in vehicles.

However, Mr Ford has experienced incidents where police have not used any self-recorded footage, telling him that it was a “civil matter”.

Mr Ford said that for drivers who do the morning run for school children, recording would be problematic.

“Taxi companies are not a one-size-fits-all all. The council seems to think we are.

 “If set up correctly, I have not problem with it. It’s just how the council forces it.”

Mr Ford said drivers are not supported with "the hoops they have to jump through" to gain a licence.

He added that he had had no human contact throughout the licensing process coupled with council emails which could not cope with "2023" file sizes, despite a £360 cost.

“No wonder there’s a shortage of taxi drivers in Colchester,” he added.