A SCHEME in Oxford to put cameras in taxis which will record sound and video will be followed “with great interest” by Wycombe council officials.

However, Wycombe District Council, which licenses taxis, said it does not see the need for such a move right now.

The proposal has sparked a civil liberties debate nationally, with claims it would be an invasion of privacy.

All conversations in Oxford taxis will be recorded and video footage taken from the moment the key is turned in the ignition.

Officials say it will provide evidence of attacks by passengers or driver misconduct, when allegations are made.

Asked if the idea has been discussed or considered, Wycombe District Council said in a statement: “We're aware of the announcement made by Oxford and we'll watch the progress of the scheme with interest.

“However, for now, we do not see the need for such a scheme here in Wycombe.

“If Oxford experience great success, we may look at the idea in the future, but for now, we have no plans to follow in their footsteps.”

Wycombe Private Hire Trade Association Director Zia Ullah said there is a serious long-standing problem in the area with drivers being attacked and abused.

Taxi driver Mohammed Mahroof was killed in May 2007.

In the last week alone Mr Ullah said there have been four separate attacks on drivers, five attempted thefts and a “plethora” of racial abuse, which has become a daily occurrence.

He said: “It's something that has been looked at, not just for customer safety but for drivers.”

But despite many “diabolical” situations Mr Ullah said: “It's not something we are looking at rolling out, certainly not in the near future.

“Perhaps at the tail end of next year if the cost and feasibility were right.”

Currently, costs are highly prohibitive.

Attempts to pursue passengers who have attacked or abused drivers - either in civil or criminal cases - have been repeatedly unsuccessful.

“The evidence that some of these cameras capture is something we need in court proceedings, so it makes sense in that light,” he said.

The association includes 485 taxi drivers in the WDC area. There are over 1,500 taxi drivers in total.

WDC said any attacks on its drivers are investigated by its licensing team alongside Thames Valley Police.

Both bodies adopt a zero tolerance approach to protect drivers and also to stop unlicensed drivers and cars operating in the district, it said.

WDC is launching a mobile phone application to enable passengers to check if a taxi is licensed.