Cab drivers from Dudley and the surrounding area came together this weekend to raise awareness about taxi safety and to implore local councillors to allow the installation of CCTV cameras inside their vehicles.
The awareness event, which took place on Saturday in the town of Stourbridge, was hosted by Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association. It was arranged in the wake of a spate of attacks on taxi drivers by members of the public over the past few months.
Dark times for Black Country cabbies
The chairman of the Dudley taxi firm said that recent violence against taxi drivers in a number of attacks warranted the introduction of cameras into the cabs to allow drivers to feel safe doing their job.
March was a particularly tough month for cabbies in the West Midlands. One driver was knifed by his passenger at a petrol station in Lye, while another was mercilessly beaten by the two men in the back of his car just a few weeks before. Needless to say, the men did not pay their fare but instead stole all of his takings for the night, as well as his keys.
These most recent attacks followed two separate incidents in Halesowen last year, when drivers were threatened by a passenger wielding a medical syringe, claiming he would infect them with AIDS if they did not hand over their valuables.
“This is to protect drivers. At the moment, with these attacks, it would make drivers feel a lot more secure,” explained Shaz Saleem, the body’s chair. “Taxi drivers are easy targets. They are like banks on wheels and need a lot more protection.”
A necessary precaution
Saleem and his association believe that the local council must legalise the installation of cameras inside Hackney Carriages and private hire taxis in order to prevent similar events happening in the future. Though the adoption of CCTV would be an optional measure that would be paid for by each individual driver, Saleem sees it as an imperative precaution in the fight against petty crime.
The Taxi Awareness Day in Stourbridge sought to raise the profile of taxi driver safety and drivers can report any trouble in their cabs using the hashtag #StopTaxiAttacks. The event was attended by approximately 500 people and also raised other important topics for discussion.
On the agenda were personal insurance possibilities, assisting wheelchair-bound passengers, child sexual exploitation in the area and improving health standards for drivers. However, the introduction of the CCTV system was the main priority for the organisers.
“We’re very proud of our drivers who have taken a lead on this, it goes without saying we have the best drivers in the Midlands,” said Richard Body, councillor for Cradley, Homer Hill, Netherend and Wollescote and chair of the Dudley Taxis Committee.
CCTV safeguarding homeowners as well as drivers
The fact that cabbies are feeling the need to bring CCTV into their working vehicles shows just how valuable the cameras can be in deterring crime and bringing those responsible to justice when an incident does take place. That very same security is every bit as important on a fixed premises as in a vehicle, regardless of whether it’s a place of business or a domestic address.
At Blackburn Alarms, we have a whole host of intruder alerts, CCTV security cameras and access control systems to increase safety and give you peace of mind. To find out more about how we can help secure your home or workplace, get in touch with us today.