Taxi driver: Cameras won't stop the attacks

By Michele Hunter

A Tauranga taxi driver believes a law requiring all taxis to have security cameras won't stop attacks.
Philip Cournane, chairman of directors for Taxi-Cabs, has had a security camera fitted in his car for more than 10 years and said it "hasn't made any difference".
He doesn't agree with compulsory cameras and said the cost of about $1000 would leave some drivers struggling.
"I don't think they deter people from attacks on taxi drivers."
The Government confirmed yesterday that all taxis operating in larger centres would be fitted with security cameras from August 1 next year.
The move is designed to enhance the safety of both taxi drivers and their passengers.
The law will affect taxis operating in towns currently serviced by more than 30 taxis - which includes Tauranga.
Tauranga Mount Taxis, Tauranga's biggest taxi company, has a fleet of about 50 cars alone.
The new law was prompted by a number of serious attacks on taxi drivers in New Zealand in the past two years.
Two drivers have been killed.
Tauranga Mount Taxis had already installed security video cameras into at least 80 per cent of its fleet after three serious attacks on drivers last year.
The cameras were installed more than a year ago, pre-empting the new law.
Earlier this year, there were four brutal attacks in Tauranga within two weeks.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce said the "safety situation" for taxi drivers had changed.
"While there is no measure that can make drivers entirely safe, evidence and overseas experience shows these measures can seriously reduce the risks."
The new law will also ensure taxi drivers get around-the-clock telecommunications support.

The Operator Licensing Rule will set requirements for the fitting and type of security camera that can be used.
It also includes limits on access to camera images to protect passenger privacy.
Changes to provide for improved telecommunications systems mean each driver will have a direct link with the taxi company and is able to alert them in an emergency.
The amendment rule comes into force on February 1 but taxi companies have until August 1 to have the required systems installed and operating in their taxis. Taxis that already have a security camera fitted when the rule takes effect will be allowed to operate with that system until February 1, 2012.
By that date, they must either have their existing system approved by the NZ Transport Agency or replace it with one that has been approved.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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