Child abuse survivor: "Every taxi in the country should have CCTV"

By Sam Cooper | 27/10/2017

Child abuse survivor: 'Every taxi in the country should have CCTV'
Sammy Woodhouse

CHILD sex abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse hopes to get every taxi in the country fitted with CCTV.

Sammy, who was groomed as a teenager by abuse gang ringleader Arshid Hussain, was part of the Rotherham Steering Group which successfully fought for licensing policy changes at Rotherham Borough Council.

She has now written to transport minister John Hayes calling for other councils across the country to make it compulsory for taxi drivers to have CCTV and audio recording equipment, which are now standard in Rotherham cabs.

“After Rotherham put the changes in place, I carried on the campaign and wrote to the transport minister and didn’t expect to hear anything back to be honest,” she said.

“But the Government set up a task force and wrote to me asking for my views so I think the fact they’ve asked me is a good sign.”

Rotherham Borough Council brought in the new policy last year after the taxi industry came under fire when Prof Alexis Jay said in her report on child sex abuse in 2014 that taxi drivers had been involved in transporting and abusing young CSE victims.

Sammy (pictured above) said the campaign would also help keep drivers safe as well as passengers.

“I think a lot of councils across the country are concerned about the reaction from taxi drivers but this isn’t just about CSE, it’s all crimes,” she said.

“I was in London recently and asked the taxi driver if he had CCTV and he said he did.

“He said it was his choice because it kept him safe as well.

“That’s the point - I think it would prevent a lot of crime. 

“CCTV cameras are everywhere these days. We have them on buses and trains, so why not taxis?”

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Mr Hayes said a new licensing system was “being gamed” after Sheffield MP Clive Betts raised concerns that drivers licensed outside of Rotherham were able to operate in the borough.

Transport minister Mr Hayes said there was a case for new statutory guidance, which he expected to be issued by early next year.

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