Protecting Bolton's Taxis
Bolton Council has become the first local authority to successfully trial Chubb CabWatch, an innovative new system combining CCTV and GPS technology to reduce violent crime within the Taxi and Private Hire Industry.
Research has shown that taxi drivers have up to 15 times the average exposure to occupational violence, with this statistic effectively highlighted by the murder of 24 cab drivers in just nine years in this country.
Bolton Council's Licensing Unit had been concerned for some time about an increase in the number of reported attacks on the drivers of Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles. Despite well-publicised attacks, there are a significant number of serious incidents that go unreported.
In the past the Licensing Manager had held discussions with Greater Manchester Police who have given assurances that they will respond to calls for assistance from Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Drivers as soon as possible. However, because of the ease with which attackers are able to escape, such assistance did not always satisfactorily deal with the problem and a Police response is inevitably, 'after the event'.
The tragic deaths of Quadir Hussain in Bolton and Tariq Javed in Bury, both of which occurred whilst they were at work made the need for an effective system all the more urgent. CabWatch offered a solution.
How does Chubb CabWatch work?
The Chubb CabWatch system has a tiny camera installed inside the taxi. This records images of its occupants and stores them securely. If the driver feels threatened or fears an attack he/she can press a secret button, which will send an alert to Chubb's state-of-the-art monitoring station pinpointing the location, direction and speed of the vehicle.
For added security an audio channel transmits the sound from within the vehicle. Once actioned to the Police, the images are downloaded from the vehicle to the Chubb Remote Video Response Centre.
The exact position of the taxi can be tracked by Chubb using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology, and the police can be notified of any incident allowing them to 'home-in' on the vehicle. Chubb's ability to listen-in on the activities in the cab whilst securely storing snapshot photographs means that should an attack actually take place, the evidence recorded can be used in court. All images are watermarked, date and time-stamped and encrypted.
"Can be used as evidence in a court of law"
The system was chosen because unlike other systems on the market the images that are taken are stored in a format that can be used at a later date to secure a prosecution. Chubb has a good relationship with the police, making liasing efficient and effective. Chubb CabWatch can also have a positive impact in helping to reduce insurance premiums.
The initial trial, held over a six week period and involving 10 cars exceeded all expectations. The drivers reported an immediate and very noticeable 'deterrent' effect; indeed the deterrent was so effective that none of the Cabs used in the trial suffered any problems. An experienced female driver reported that during a late night journey taking three young men home, the talk was about not paying the fare. It developed to the point where they were talking about stealing her 'takings'. At the destination she pointed out to the passengers that they were 'on camera' and had been recorded. They duly paid the fare and left the vehicle.
The success of the trial has resulted in Bolton Council looking to set up a leasing system so that taxi drivers can buy the Chubb CabWatch system on easy weekly or monthly payments. The leasing system would allow the system to be bought over a three-year period whilst having the flexibility to be transferred to new vehicles with ease.
Bolton Council's Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Guy Harkin, added: "It is the first such system in the country and, with well publicised cases of attacks on taxi drivers, it's a timely development. We're pleased that this scheme is getting off the ground."
Stuart Naylor of Chubb CabWatch said of the project: "Chubb is once again at the very forefront of remote monitoring playing a vital role in this trial. The partnership with Bolton Council enables us to have a positive impact on the safety of taxi drivers."
For more information please contact Chubb CabWatch on 0870 6000 861 or visit the area of the Chubb website dedicated to Chubb Cabwatch at www.chubb.co.uk/cabwatch
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