SPY cameras are being fitted in taxis to stop yob passengers attacking drivers.
A small number of private hire cars will be fitted with CCTV next month as part of a scheme to reduce incidents of “hate crime” — and police chiefs say they would like to see a camera in every taxi in Bolton.
It comes after a series of attacks on drivers in the town, which prompted one taxi firm boss to put up a £1,000 reward for anyone helping to convict a yob.
Police are cracking down on hate crime, which is defined as crime motivated by issues such as race, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
Taxi drivers, many of whom are Asian, are often victims of hate crime, and police a i m t o s t o p i t using CCTV cameras.
Ch Insp Alan Wood said: “It might lead to our hate crime figures going up, but it could also increase the detection rate.
“The best possible evidence is if we can get someone on CCTV doing it because it will also allow us to prosecute them.
“Eventually the cycle goes round — we stop offenders offending and we reduce hate crime.”
The CCTV pilot scheme will be funded by the Be Safe Partnership, a scheme run jointly by the police, Bolton Council, the fire service and other agencies.
Nick Astley, managing director of Metro Taxis in Tonge Moor, said: “We are hoping to randomly put CCTV in our cars so there’s more security to protect our customers and our drivers.
“I think anything that cuts down crimes against taxi drivers is great because it’s an ongoing problem.
“We want to do something about it before a really serious crime or accident takes place.”
Signs would be put up in the windows of any cars fitted with CCTV. About six hate crimes are reported every week in Bolton, but only about a quarter of them result in prosecutions.
Police have seen a steady increase in detection rates over the last few years but are still working hard to improve the situation.