Audio recordings 'won't reduce assaults on taxi drivers'

THE Queensland Government has utterly failed to produce any evidence to back its move to introduce audio recording devices into taxis around the state, according to the state's top civil liberties group.

In November last year, the state government's proposal was released for public submissions, as part of wider changes to security in Queensland's taxis.

In a submission to proposal, the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties has warned the introduction of audio recording, in addition to camera already in taxis, will not reduce the number of assaults on taxi drivers.

The council had previously called for the Department of Transport to provide evidence that audio recording of taxi trips would reduce the number of assaults and deaths of taxi drivers.

But the submission said it had "failed utterly" to do so, despite more than 18 months elapsing since the request.

The council said the only reference the department had included was a recent court judgement which speculated there would be more convictions, but not actually deter offenders.

"Even if there were evidence that the use of audio recordings had resulted in more successful prosecutions, the fact of more successful prosecutions does not show, in itself, that there has been effective deterrence," the submission reads.

"A similar issue arises in relation to CCTV.

"There is extensive evidence that CCTV does not reduce crime, except, perhaps, in the narrowest of circumstances.

"But there is some evidence that it is helpful in prosecutions."

The civil liberties council also raised questions about the combined use of information that taxi drivers get during a standard trip.

"The effect of this proposal is that a taxi driver could possibly have a person's name, address, telephone number, credit card number, photograph and an audio recording," the submission reads.

"This represents a vast amount of personal information. The collection of this amount of information requires a serious justification."

The policy paper, a part of the Queensland Taxi Strategic Plan 2010-2013, closed for public comment on Friday.

Do you think recording audio in taxis will help stop attacks on Queensland’s taxi drivers?

This poll ended on 18 February 2013.

Yes - 31%

No - 60%

Unsure - 8%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  taxi drivers

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