Black County drivers in plea for CCTV in taxis as awareness event held - PICTURES and VIDEO
Taxis in a Black Country borough must be fitted with CCTV to help protect drivers after a spate of attacks, bosses have insisted.
Drivers in Dudley are expected to find out next month if they will be allowed to put cameras in Hackney Carriage and private hire vehicles.
The head of Dudley's taxi association said the move is necessary if drivers are to feel safe doing their jobs and has pleaded with councillors to give the move the green light.
Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association has been calling for CCTV for more than a year.
Having cameras would be optional for drivers, who would have to pay for them out of their own pocket.
But after several attacks on drivers in recent months, many believe the change is needed.
Association chairman Shaz Saleem said: "This is to protect drivers.
"At the moment, with these attacks, it would make drivers feel a lot more secure.
"Taxi drivers are easy targets. They are like banks on wheels and need a lot more protection."
A taxi driver was knifed by a passenger at the BP Petrol Station in Pedmore Road, Lye, in March.
That came just weeks after driver Sheakh Arbaz suffered a horrific assault in Dudley.
His two passengers punched him repeatedly as he sat in the driver's seat waiting to be paid his fare, taking his earnings and car keys.
And last year, two drivers were the victim of terrifying incidents in Halesowen when a passenger held a syringe to their necks he claimed was 'infected with Aids'.
On Saturday the association led a Taxi Awareness Day in Stourbridge town centre to help highlight concerns.
Personal insurance for drivers against attacks was among the topics raised on the day.
There were also discussions on improving health for drivers, child sexual exploitation, assisting wheel chair users and the use of CCTV.
Around 500 people attended the event. The group wanted to thank event partners Ruby Ali from Nationwide Assist, Chris Bell from Insurance4u, Dr Sidu of University of Birmingham and The Taxi Shop and Dudley Centre for Inclusive Living.
"We're very proud of our drivers who have took a lead on this, it goes without saying we have the best drivers in the midlands," said Councillor Richard Body, who is chairman of Dudley Council's taxis committee.
Drivers can report incident via Twitter using the hashtag #StopTaxiAttacks
The issue of CCTV is due to be discussed at the Dudley Council's taxis committee in May.
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