TAXIS in Swindon might all need to be fitted with CCTV to have a licence from the council.

The council will meet next Thursday to discuss proposals that may make CCTV mandatory in all private hire and hackney carriage vehicles.

A report by the Licensing Authority said: “The installation of CCTV in licensed vehicles can be both a deterrent and would-be trouble maker and a source of evidence in cases of disputes between drivers and passengers.

“The Licensing Authority receives complaints and allegations regarding behaviour of a drier with passengers and sometimes complaints from drivers.

“Unfortunately, there have been occasions where a driver’s licence has been suspended or revoked, following investigations, due to inappropriate behaviour.”

There are currently four drivers who have recently retained their licences following serious allegations made against them after they agreed to have CCTV installed in their cars.

It added: “Officers are of the opinion the overarching principle behind the licensing of private hire and hackney carriage vehicles is one of public safety.”

Most taxi drivers are classed as self-employed but require a licence from the council to legally operate. However, there may be some concern local taxi drivers about extra cost this will have on them.

The council report added: “There may be a direct financial implication for individual licence holders arising from the proposal recommended by this report. However, it is considered that the benefits in respect of protecting both the public and drivers outweighs the financial implications.”

The Taxi drivers which spoke to the Adver appear to be fully behind the proposals.

Abdul Rumhid, who lives in Stratton, told the Adver: “It would make it a lot safer. We get a lot of problems from youngsters on weekends. It’s a good idea and would help the people working late in the night.”

Samater Mohammed, who lives on Broad Street, said: “CCTV is good for safety for drivers and for passengers. Most of the drivers here use it already. Friday and Saturday night, we can get aggressive customers, so I use it. I support the idea.”

Laval Carver, who also drives on weekends, said: “It’s definitely good for your safety. I don’t really need it because I’m quite safe in here. I wouldn’t mind, even if it costs me money.

“If you do nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about. They will think twice before running away,” he added.

If the council agrees to the proposals all new vehicles licensed with the council on or after October 1 2018 will be fitted with CCTV following an 8 week consultation period.

Vehicles already licensed with the council will have until October 2019 to become compliant.

In October a taxi driver was jailed at Swindon Crown Court for 24 months for groping four female passengers over a four-year period.

In the same month three men were arrested following an unprovoked attack on an innocent 28-year-old driver who had taken the group from Cricklade Road to the Super marine Sports Club on a Sunday night.

All three were later released under investigation.