Taxi passengers and drivers could both be recorded by CCTV in a bid to crack down on crime.

Kirklees Council is considering a plan to make video and sound monitoring equipment mandatory in all Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicles licensed in the borough.

The council says the move would help to protect drivers from assaults and racist abuse.

There have also been a number of high profile cases of taxi drivers breaking the law, including the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal in which it was revealed taxi drivers played a “prominent role” in the abuse of 1,400 children.

Akooji Badat, secretary of Kirklees Hackney Carriage Association, said the move was likely to prove unpopular with drivers.

Video thumbnail, Taxi driver attacked in Dalton (WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE)
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He said: “There’s advantages and disadvantages, but the feeling among drivers is they don’t want it. The majority of customers I’ve spoken to are against it too.

“We don’t like the fact that the driver won’t be able to download the video; there’s complaints about invasion of privacy and we’re suspicious that it could be adapted in years ahead and used to track us.”

Mr Badat said the safety aspect was being over-egged.

“How often do you hear about taxi drivers hitting customers?” he added. “You get a bit of tit for tat now and then if someone won’t pay their fare, but that’s life. We think there’s a hidden agenda here.”

In 2010 Kirklees offered grants to install CCTV in 120 taxis after a spate of attacks on drivers, but the scheme was voluntary.

If approved, the new scheme would be compulsory for all taxis.

Mr Badat said drivers would prefer to provide their own equipment that the council could check at MOT time.

But the Kirklees proposal – a joint initiative with Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Wakefield and York – will only allow police or council officials to get access to the recordings.

Members of the public would be able to request a copy under the data protection act if an incident was reported.

A spokesperson said: “The aim of the plan is to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers by deterring and preventing crime, reducing the fear of crime, helping the investigation of crime and assisting insurance companies investigating claims.

Video thumbnail, Taxi driver Mohammed Naeem on being attacked
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“The proposal is that the taxis will be covered by audio and visual CCTV.

“If the plan goes ahead it is intended that the audio element would only be in operation when the taxi was in use and that both the driver and the passenger would have the ability to turn it on, so that they could record any situation that they felt warranted it.”

Kirklees Council is holding a public consultation, which runs until February 3. Details are at www.kirklees.gov.uk/involve/entry.aspx?id=860 .

Comments on the proposals should be sent to licensing@kirklees.gov.uk or posted to: Mrs C Walter, Licensing Manager, Flint Street Depot, Huddersfield, HD1 6LG.