Mears Transportation GroupSouthamptonNew York City Taxi & Limousine CommissionQueensland TransportPingtung County (Taiwan) Police BureauTorontoBridlington, East YorkshireCity of Chicago
Southampton is the United Kingdom’s highest profile cruise liner terminal. Cunard and the ‘Queen’ liners are synonymous with Southampton. As such, the city presents a first impression of the country to foreign cruise passengers visiting the UK. It is a moderate size city of 260,000 with a large, transient student population and close proximity to many highly popular holiday areas.
During 2004, the City Council was anxious to promote the safety of the town’s hire vehicle fleet to visitors, whilst offering the drivers an increased measure of protection. Like many coastal ports there were underlying anti-social behaviour problems, with the hire vehicle drivers facing increasing levels of violence. The City Council wanted to take positive action to eliminate the problems and decided that a pilot program involving in-taxi surveillance cameras would be conducted. Any proposed solution had to be highly reliable and secure, guaranteeing the privacy of both the driver and passenger(s). It needed to be visible, so that it acted as a deterrent its own right, and capable of producing high quality images that would be admissible as evidence in court.
Southampton City Council selected the VerifEye TaxiCam Mk III. Systems were installed in 35 vehicles. The immediate feedback from drivers that had cameras installed was very positive. The cameras were also well received by the public. Warning signs were displayed prominently on all equipped vehicles. During 2008, additional funding became available and the program was expanded with the addition of a further 70 state-of-the-art Mk IV TaxiCams. The ready availability and reliability of the hardware, together with local installation service and download software that could accommodate both camera models, made TaxiCam the natural choice for the Council. Advances in technology were such that it was possible for the Council to purchase the higher performance Mk IV for approximately the same price as the original Mk III. Richard Black, Licensing Officer with the City Council, commented: “The number of incidents of petty crime against drivers has already started to decline. As one of the leading unitary authorities in the country, we would like to see all our hire vehicles equipped with a camera so that the drivers, and their passengers, can go about their business in safety”.