In-vehicle closed circuit television in taxis and private hire vehicles

Closes 22 Mar 2021

Opened 9 Feb 2021

Overview

We are reviewing the use of in-vehicle closed circuit television (CCTV) in London’s:

  • Taxis (black cabs); and
  • Private hire vehicles (PHVs) (including minicabs).

At present, taxi and PHV owners can choose whether to install in-vehicle CCTV in their vehicles.

The Department for Transport (DfT)’s statutory guidance states that all licensing authorities should consult to identify if there are local circumstances which indicate that the installation of CCTV in vehicles would have either a positive or an adverse net effect on the safety of taxi and PHV users, including children or vulnerable adults, and taking into account potential privacy issues.

We are not consulting on specific proposals. Instead, we are seeking respondents’ views on the following:

  • Whether or not you think all taxis (black cabs) and PHVs (including minicabs) in London should have in-vehicle CCTV fitted as a mandatory requirement or whether the current position of allowing vehicle owners to choose to fit in-vehicle CCTV systems should be maintained
  • What are your views of the local considerations to take into account in London and how this affects whether in-vehicle CCTV should be mandatory in all London licensed taxis and PHVs
  • What positive impacts you think could be achieved if in-vehicle CCTV was in operation in all London licensed taxis and PHVs
  • What adverse impacts you think may arise if in-vehicle CCTV was in operation in all London licensed taxis and PHVs

All responses to this consultation will be carefully considered before determining the next steps which could include a second consultation.

When considering the timing of the next steps we will take into account the current situation and the impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on taxi and private hire licensees in London.

Why are we consulting?

TfL licenses and regulates London taxi (black cab) and private hire services. Private hire includes minicabs and other services (e.g. limousines, chauffeur services, tour guides, some accessible transport services).

In July 2020, the Department for Transport (DfT) published statutory taxi and PHV standards. The focus of the standards is on protecting children and vulnerable adults, although all passengers will benefit from the recommendations, which aim to better regulate the taxi and PHV sector.

The standards include a section on in-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs which states that:

“All licensing authorities should consult to identify if there are local circumstances which indicate that the installation of CCTV in vehicles would have either a positive or an adverse net effect on the safety of taxi and private hire vehicle users, including children or vulnerable adults,and taking into account potential privacy issues.”

What is in-vehicle CCTV?

Some taxis and PHVs in London already have in-vehicle CCTV installed. The main features of in-vehicle CCTV systems in taxis and PHVs are:

  • They record video footage of the driver and passengers inside the vehicle (this may or may not be on a continuous basis)
  • Some systems can record audio, although audio is not recorded at all times. Instead systems normally only record audio when the driver or a passenger activates this and will then only record for a few minutes
  • Video and audio footage from in-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs is not monitored in real time or livestreamed whilst being recorded
  • Footage is stored for a specified retention period (e.g. 28 days) and can be accessed by authorised users during this period if there is an incident or complaint
  • After the specified retention period has passed the video and any audio recorded is deleted
  • Normally in-vehicle CCTV systems can be turned off when the vehicle is being used for private purposes
  • All vehicles with in-vehicle CCTV installed must display clear signage informing passengers that they are being recorded  

In-vehicle CCTV does not include external/road facing cameras such as dashcams.

Research has shown that in London, less than 10% of taxi and PHV drivers have in-vehicle CCTV installed in their vehicle. 

Have your say

You can let us know your views on in-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs by completing the online survey below by Monday 22 March 2021.

Alternatively, you can:

  • Email us at: consultations@tfl.gov.uk
  • Write to us at: FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS (Ref: In-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs)

You can also request a paper copy of the consultation and a response form, copies in Braille, large text or another language by emailing consultations@tfl.gov.uk or writing to us.

We are particularly keen to hear the views of taxi and private hire drivers, stakeholders who represent children, vulnerable adults, disabled people, people with accessibility requirements, taxi passengers and PHV passengers.

If you represent any of these groups and would like to discuss in-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs with us then please email us at consultations@tfl.gov.uk.

Next steps

Once the consultation has closed we will review all of the responses.

The potential next steps include:

  • No change is made to the current position and taxi and PHV owners can continue to install TfL-approved in-vehicle CCTV systems in their vehicles if they choose to do so
  • A second consultation is undertaken exploring a specific set of proposals regarding in-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs along with a detailed impact assessment
  • There is no further consultation but instead options are explored to encourage vehicle owners to install in-vehicle CCTV in taxis and PHVs

When considering the timing of the next steps we will take into account the current situation and the impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on taxi and private hire licensees in London.

Have your say

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Public
  • Taxi trade
  • Taxi customers and other stakeholders
  • Private hire trade
  • Private hire customers and other stakeholders

Interests

  • Taxis
  • Private hire