Amsterdam taxi auth. using bodycams to combat violence

A computer generated rendering of a body camera (Photo: Throwawaysixtynine/Wikimedia Commons). (A computer generated rendering of a body camera (Photo: Throwawaysixtynine/Wikimedia Commons))

Amsterdam wants to do a test in which taxi enforcement officials are equipped with so-called body cams. Enforcers regularly deal with aggression during the course of their duties, and the city hopes that the body cams will "prevent inappropriate behavior against or by enforcers", the city writes in a press release.

If the city council gives the green light, the test will start on March 1st. A team of enforcers who deal with aggression "more often than average" will be equipped with body cams for six months.

Two different methods will be tested. In the first method the taxi enforcer will only turn on the camera when a situation is likely to escalate. This method reduces the amount of filming in public spaces, but carries the risk that turning on the camera will actually escalate the situation more. In the second method, enforcers will turn on the camera as soon as thy arrive at a taxi stand to perform checks.

The footage caught by the body cams can be used as evidence in the case of a crime. It can also serve as evidence of a violation of the Taxi Regulation and when sanctioning a taxi driver.

According to the city, police officers in both Amsterdam and The Hague reported positive experiences in previous tests with such body cams. Both officers that tested it in Amsterdam noticed aggression decreasing and 90 percent of the officers in The Hague stated that the cameras had a de-escalating effect.

Taxi enforcement officials supervise taxi stands and bus- and tram lanes. They ensure that all requirements of the, among other things, taxi law are complied with. They also make sure that traffic keeps flowing at the taxi stands.