Po­lice plan dash­cam BLITZ

Cops con­sider UK-wide scheme to turn EVERY dash­cam user into a road-go­ing in­for­mant

Motorcycle Monthly - - Front Page -

Af­ter a 10 month trial pe­riod in North Wales, po­lice forces across the UK are now con­sid­er­ing whether to launch a na­tional dash­cam scheme which lets any­one with a cam­era mounted to their ve­hi­cle or hel­met sub­mit footage of dodgy road use.

The scheme was orig­i­nally launched last Oc­to­ber and con­fined to the North Wales area but fol­low­ing on from that ini­tial trial it’s been de­cided that ALL po­lice forces in Wales will now take in video footage from on-board cam­eras mounted to ev­ery­day ve­hi­cles.

A pilot scheme for po­lice forces to use dash­cam footage sent to them by or­di­nary mem­bers of the pub­lic as a source of ev­i­dence could go na­tion­wide across the UK.

Op­er­a­tion Snap is pi­o­neer­ing the use of dash­cams af­ter a boom in the pop­u­lar­ity of the tech and has seen a huge up­take in the amount of dash­cams used on the road.

The scheme, orig­i­nally set up in North Wales last Oc­to­ber has now been adopted by all four po­lice forces in Wales with other forces across the UK, Aus­tralia and Hong Kong now con­sid­er­ing the same.

All four po­lice forces in Wales are to start us­ing dash­cam footage recorded by the pub­lic to in­ves­ti­gate driv­ing of­fences af­ter ef­forts on the part of North Wales Po­lice dur­ing a trial scheme were deemed a suc­cess.

Op­er­a­tion Snap started last Oc­to­ber in north Wales. It en­cour­aged driv­ers to up­load their own ‘ev­i­dence’ of il­le­gal or danger­ous road use di­rectly to a po­lice web­site. So far, the force has dealt with 129 cases as a re­sult of footage sub­mit­ted. The op­er­a­tion will link up with the Go Safe part­ner­ship to op­er­ate across Wales.

In­spec­tor Dave Cust, of North Wales Po­lice Roads Polic­ing Unit, said Op­er­a­tion Snap had saved po­lice about 12 hours’ work per case, as in­ves­ti­gat­ing an al­le­ga­tion of bad driv­ing could take up a lot of re­sources. He added that footage could be used to prove in­no­cence as well as guilt.

“There was a woman who went through a green light and hit a car. Two mem­bers of the pub­lic said she went through a red light and she was go­ing too fast. The cam­era proved dif­fer­ently,” he said: “It’s proper, re­li­able ev­i­dence.”

The footage sub­mit­ted has to be unedited and in­clude the whole jour­ney, not just the in­ci­dent. Mem­bers of the pub­lic sub­mit­ting any footage must not have al­ready shared, or plan to share, the footage on any form of so­cial me­dia.

Po­lice forces from other parts of the UK, Aus­tralia and Hong Kong have been in touch about the scheme so ex­pect to see sim­i­lar op­er­a­tions in place rel­a­tively soon.

Chief In­spec­tor Dar­ren Ware­ing said: “If you have footage from a dash cam, your pedal cy­cle cam or any other source that you feel sup­ports you as a wit­ness to an al­leged mo­tor­ing of­fence, we want to hear from you.

“North Wales Po­lice recog­nises that the vast ma­jor­ity of the pub­lic want to use the road net­work to get from A to B safely; and that they don’t wish to tol­er­ate un­nec­es­sary risks that some are ex­posed to by the ac­tions of oth­ers.

“Over re­cent months we have re­ceived footage cap­tur­ing mo­tor­ing of­fences in­clud­ing care­less and danger­ous driv­ing, peo­ple on mo­bile tele­phones and peo­ple be­ing dis­tracted while us­ing their smart de­vices be­hind the wheel.

“We also recog­nise that vul­ner­a­ble road users – in­clud­ing cy­clists, mo­tor­cy­clists and horse rid­ers are now us­ing cam­eras. We are see­ing some aw­ful very close passes and peo­ple pulling in and out of junc­tions putting cy­clists in dan­ger.

“We will not tol­er­ate this and wish to sup­port all road users, in­clud­ing those who are most vul­ner­a­ble, to have a safe jour­ney.”

Op­er­a­tion Snap has the full sup­port of the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice. Justin Espie of the Crown Pros­e­cu­tion Ser­vice said: “Good polic­ing has al­ways been re­liant upon the sup­port of the pub­lic, so any scheme that al­lows the pub­lic to sub­mit qual­ity ev­i­dence quickly and eas­ily is wor­thy of sup­port.

“The scheme takes ad­van­tage of the in­creased use and avail­abil­ity of dash cam footage, al­low­ing the pub­lic to par­tic­i­pate di­rectly in im­prov­ing road safety.

“For the most part, mi­nor in­ci­dents will re­sult in driver ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses. In more se­ri­ous cases, video footage is of­ten the best ev­i­dence avail­able to help se­cure a con­vic­tion.”

Ware­ing added: “We hope Op­er­a­tion Snap will make a dif­fer­ence on the roads and that peo­ple will feel safer and re­as­sured by our ef­forts to tackle bad driv­ing. This is all about mak­ing the roads safer for all. Noth­ing more, noth­ing less. Those who are pre­pared to risk their lives and the lives of oth­ers are not wel­come on our roads.

“If those peo­ple know there is a much big­ger chance of be­ing pros­e­cuted and risk losing their li­cence then maybe, just maybe, they’ll think twice about mak­ing that call, an­swer­ing that text, up­dat­ing their sta­tus or stick­ing a ‘like’ to a danc­ing kit­ten while driv­ing.”

But the Al­liance of Bri­tish Driv­ers said the scheme was a char­ter for “road vig­i­lantes”.

A spokesman said: “There are two ways of look­ing at this. If there is an ac­tual of­fence be­ing com­mit­ted there is no rea­son a mem­ber of the pub­lic shouldn’t re­port it to the po­lice.

“How­ever, if it’s just some­one’s per­sonal opin­ion that they don’t like the way some­one else is driv­ing, it’s a dif­fer­ent is­sue al­to­gether – it’s just vig­i­lan­tism. The po­lice could be wast­ing a lot of time look­ing at videos sent in by the pub­lic.”

“If you have footage from a dash cam, your pedal cy­cle cam or any other source that you feel sup­ports you as a wit­ness to an al­leged mo­tor­ing of­fence, we want to hear from you.” Chief Insp Dar­ren Ware­ing

Chief In­spec­tor Dar­ren Ware­ing.

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