WINCHESTER civic chiefs are looking at insisting all taxis have CCTV installed in vehicles.

The city council says it will be working on CCTV in cabs in 2023 once it has sufficient resources.

The cameras would record visually and on audio anything happening between drivers and passengers.

Bu the council licensing and regulation committee heard that there had been legal issues in other authorities. In Southampton the Information Commissioner has been concerned that CCTV could only be operated by the driver and not by the passenger.

Briony Appletree, licensing manager, said the issue entailed a huge amount of work with analysis of statistics over crime and complaints. She said: "A lot of people would like CCTV in taxis but we need to demonstrate it is proportionate and necessary."

Taxi firms can install their own CCTV. Ms Appletree said: "We don't encourage it, we don't discourage it. If they want to do it for their own insurance purposes or for safety, that is fine."

Cllr Brian Laming asked how many instances there has been in which CCTV would have helped. Ms Appletree said there has been 40 complaints last financial year, ranging from dangerous overtaking to inappropriate remarks.

The committee was discussing its new taxi policy. It heard that enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on drivers will now be conducted every six months instead of the three years. Any licensed taxi driver who has been abroad for six months must supply a certificate of good character.

Also the council is looking at installing more electric vehicle charging points. David Ingram, environmental health manager, said there are 35 EV points across the district.

He said there is currently only one electric taxi in the district, with the cost of new vehicles the stumbling block, more than the current shortage of charging points.

The council is keen to promote electric vehicles. Electric taxis can be eight years old and be on the road for up to 15 years compared to five years for new petrol/diesel taxis and 12 years on the road.

Lamp post charging points have been promoted but Mr Ingram said they take too much power from sub-stations on the National Grid although each one provides only a "trickle" of power of around 3-7 kilowatts and hour.

The council is looking at the district's sub-stations and where they could be used for charging points.

Cllr Laming raised the issue of taxi door signs which must now display city council details. Initially the council said taxi firms must get them done at two suppliers at a cost of £75 a pair. After complaints, the council relented and now allows operators to use whichever supplier they wish, and most get the signs for £25 a pair.

The council has paid a £40-60 goodwill payment to those firms who paid the higher amount, said Ms Appletree.

The Conservatives were able to capture the vice-chairmanship of the committee after three Liberal Democrat councillors, Mark Reach, Anne Small and former Vivian Achwal did not attend the first meeting of the civic year, allowing the Tories to install Cllr David McLean by four votes to three.