Cameras have been fitted into taxis in Bolton in a bid to reduce hate crime.
Six taxis have each been fitted with two mini-domed shaped cameras and a microphone system.
The scheme aims to prevent taxi drivers becoming victims of violent crime or hate crime and to encourage reporting of such incidents.
A digital CCTV system will record images and audio on to a secure removable hard drive.
If a taxi driver in one of the cabs experiences an incident they can report it to Bolton Council’s community safety team or the police and the images can then be downloaded.
Stickers will also be on display in the taxi windows to inform people that they are being recorded.
The pilot has been organised by the Be Safe Partnership, which is made up of Bolton Council, Greater Manchester Police and other partners.
Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Licensing, Councillor Ismail Ibrahim, said: “We believe this scheme will improve safety for both drivers and passengers. It gives the drivers peace of mind and the passenger more confidence in using taxis.
“Taxi drivers are often subject to abuse and the cameras should act as a deterrent and help identify perpetrators.
“Any criminal behaviour will be caught on camera and can be used to assist police investigations. We will be monitoring and evaluating the pilot to see what effect it’s had on the number of attacks on taxi drivers.”
Chief Inspector Shane O'Neill of GMP's Bolton Division, added: "CCTV is an invaluable tool for everyday policing. It is used extensively to monitor public order offences, theft and assault and images are often used to identify offenders and witnesses as evidence in trails.
"The CCTV positioned in taxis across the borough will not only provide vital reassurance to drivers but also enable officers to thoroughly investigate reported crimes.
"I want to reassure all taxi drivers that we take any report from them seriously and will robustly investigate any offence to trace and arrest the offenders. I would urge them to report all incidents to us on 0161 872 5050 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, no matter how minor or trivial they may seem. If we don't know about an incident then we can't do anything about it."
Two hackney and four private hire vehicles are benefitting from the one-year pilot. The firms were chosen following consultation with representatives from the taxi industry.
The private hire firms involved are: Heaton Cars, Star Cars and Metro Cars.
The cost for the scheme is £6K, funded through a central government grant.