COMMENT: Firms need subsidy if they are to fit cameras in taxis
It's highly appropriate that we carry a story today about a call to help make women feel safer when they take taxi journeys.
On White Ribbon Day, as we're asked to come together and say no to all male violence against women, it's an illustration of the dangers that can be faced by women on their own.
Gosport councillor and former police officer Lesley Meenaghan wants all boroughs to follow Portsmouth and Southampton’s lead in making CCTV a requirement in taxis.
She believes that installing mandatory cameras will protect female passengers from being preyed upon.
Cllr Meenaghan speaks from experience. She knows from her days as a neighbourhood sergeant with Hampshire Constabulary that a small minority of individuals may abuse their position of trust and target and sexually assault vulnerable women after a night out.
She is also a mother with a daughter and says these concerns are 'very real and worrying'.
We agree and support her CCTV campaign.
Putting cameras in all taxis will be an effective deterrent and, if an assault is carried out, a vital source of evidence in any prosecution.
It will also be of great benefit to taxi drivers who themselves risk being abused or assaulted.
The problem is cost. As Phil Cox, who owns Hardway Cabs in Gosport, points out, it could set him back up to £3,600 to fit CCTV in all his six vehicles.
He’s behind the campaign, but that's a lot of money for a small firm to find.
We appreciate council budgets are very tight these days, but we think that some sort of subsidy is going to be needed to help taxi firms if installation is made mandatory.
Otherwise, however much they want to do it, how can they afford to fit the cameras?