News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Calls for CCTV and tracking devices to be put in Flintshire taxis to protect public

A local authority has called for CCTV and tracking device to be installed in taxis to protect members of the public.

Flintshire Council has also asked to be given stronger powers after branding current legislation concerning the licensing of taxis and private hire vehicles as ‘archaic’.

The Welsh Government is consulting on reforms to the system after ministers raised issues about inconsistent standards and the inability for authorities to share safeguarding information.

In their response, council chiefs said technology would help to improve the safety of passengers.

They said: “The existing legislation is archaic, not fit for purpose and requires fundamental reform with new primary legislation.

“The panel believe that ideally records should be kept for every journey undertaken, however, there are obvious practical difficulties with taking this approach.

“A better option would be to use technology to better the safeguarding processes.

“The use of CCTV, trackers and GPS systems would not only provide a more robust system for record keeping but would also not place an administrative burden on taxi drivers.

“The cost of fitting CCTV within licensed vehicles particularly for small businesses may require a subsidy from Welsh Government.”

The government has put forward several proposals to transform the system, including transferring the licensing powers of the 22 local authorities in Wales to a single national authority.

However, the council has objected to the potential loss of local enforcement controls.

In their response council chief said: “We do not support the proposal on the information provided, as there is no evidence to support the need to redirect the existing taxi and private hire vehicle licensing function away from local authorities.

“The panel feel that insufficient research has been undertaken in respect of this proposal and that Welsh Government must produce a far more detailed explanation on how the joint transport authority would work.

“Our overriding concern is the protection of the public, and there in nothing contained within this proposal which suggests that public safety is at the forefront of this proposal.
“There are of course many advantages of retaining the function at a local level, with local knowledge, needs and issues.”

The council’s response to the government White Paper will be discussed at a licensing committee meeting next week.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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