Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

CCTV set to be installed in Derry taxi cabs

Security cameras look set to be installed in taxi cabs in Londonderry to protect drivers from false rape allegations — as well as assault and robbery.

The move comes after footage from a camera led to the successful prosecution of a man found guilty of attacking a taxi driver.

This success prompted other drivers to follow suit, installing the equipment at their own expense.

The driver involved in the court action said that he took the decision to install the CCTV camera after a shocking incident that took place in his cab.

A group of men he had collected turned out to be drunk and one reached over his seat and tried to grab the steering wheel while he was driving.

The man said the incident almost caused him to crash the car and could have resulted in him being charged with a motoring offence without being able to prove what had happened.

The installation of cameras has been welcomed by the proprietor of the largest taxi company in Derry, Foyle Delta.

Speaking to the North West Telegraph, Jarlath Malone said installing cameras will give peace of mind to drivers.

He added: “I know a lot of drivers who will not work at night because of fears of being attacked or robbed but the biggest fear they have is of being falsely accused of rape.

“Drivers are very vulnerable and have genuine concerns about their own safety — especially at night, but not just at night — and we have a few drivers who have already installed CCTV.

“Anything that offers protection to drivers is welcome and I can certainly see the sense in having a camera installed in a taxi.

“All our drivers are thoroughly vetted before they start work for us so while a camera may make female passengers feel safer, it would be the driver who would benefit most from them.”

In Derry last December a taxi driver was accused of rape but it was not until March this year that all charges against him were dropped.

Willie Doherty, a driver with City Cabs, said this has prompted others to consider fitting CCTV.

He said: “It's being talked about by drivers who feel the CCTV would give them a bit more confidence when lifting fares at night, particularly in light of what happened to the driver last year who was accused in the wrong.”

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