When CCTV footage provides us with invaluable evidence

THE man who carried out a sudden and unprovoked attack of terrifying ferocity, on a taxi driver deserves a long sentence (page 1).

James Pilgrim was clearly not in his right mind when he turned on 52-year-old driver Lee Curtis, grabbed him in a head lock and proceeded to bite him in the face, however there is absolutely no excuse.

The physical signs of the attack, which took place three weeks ago are fading, but the mental scars will take far longer to heal. It is unclear whether Mr Curtis will ever again be able to face driving a taxi.

Nobody should have to fear abuse, physical or verbal, when at work, or indeed fear for their life, as Mr Curtis did, and yet for taxi drivers in recent years, the threat has been a real one.

Both Mr Curtis and his boss Chris Vale, manager of 247 Taxis say that in the last three years assaults on taxi drivers have gone from extremely rare occurrences to almost commonplace -though thankfully not attacks of this severity.

It is thanks to the CCTV installed in Mr Curtis’ taxi that the perpetrator was brought to justice so swiftly.

In light of all this it seems only right to push for mandatory CCTV in all taxis in Hastings and St Leonards, of the type used by 247 Taxis which the driver does not have to switch on manually.

Having CCTV footage to refer back to protects not only the driver, but also the passenger. Any disputes can be resolved quickly by watching the tape back, and if a crime is committed the footage can be used as indisputable evidence.

Of course, CCTV is not the solution to the problem of violent acts being committed in the first place, that is police territory, however CCTV is a positive move that would provide that extra layer of protection.