Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

CCTV in cabs to curb racist abuse on Hastings drivers

CCTV camera in taxi
Schemes operate in Crawley, West Sussex, and Gravesend, in Kent

Taxis in an East Sussex resort are to be fitted with cameras after the boss of one leading firm said his drivers were suffering too much racist abuse.

Chris Vale, who runs 24/7 taxis in Hastings, said he was worried about the physical safety of his employees.

He said only last weekend three men racially abused a driver and smashed a wine bottle against the car window.

Hastings Borough Council has promised financial help to install the cameras in Mr Vale's fleet of cars.

"All the drivers are asking for CCTV to go in their cars," he said.

Bob Brown, taxi licensing manager at Hastings council, said it ran a similar scheme three years ago but the take-up was very small.

Anything that helps safety is worth trying
Bob Brown, taxi licensing manager, Hastings Borough Council

"But we're going to try it again. We've managed to locate some money, thanks to the Safer Hastings Partnership, and we're going to see if we can support them and get some more cameras in," he said.

"It's never going to stop everybody from doing everything as it doesn't in the street... but it is certainly a good evidence-gathering tool and a good preventative measure."

Mr Brown said there were about 20 different nationalities licensed to drive taxis in Hastings out of a total of about 480 drivers.

He explained that not all the town's cab companies wanted the cameras but for those that did, half the cost would be paid by the council, and the other half by the driver.

"Anything that helps safety is worth trying," he said.

The scheme in Hastings follows similar projects in Crawley, West Sussex, and in Gravesend, Kent.

Cab firm in Hastings

CCTV to curb racist abuse in cabs

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