Road Safety News
 

Drivers in Wales to be prosecuted using ‘dash cam’ evidence

Wednesday 19th October 2016

‘Dash cam’ evidence sent in by members of the public will be used to prosecute drivers who break the law, under a new initiative by North Wales Police.

Operation Snap, or #OpSnap, has been launched in response to an increase in the amount of video and photographic evidence submitted by people who have witnessed driving offences.

The initiative has the full support of the Crown Prosecution Service and is intended to make journeys on the roads of North Wales safer for all road users.

To support the initiative, North Wales Police has developed a streamlined back-office function to automate the process of accepting footage or photographs.

An email containing instructions showing how to upload footage or photographs is sent to anyone who contacts the police with evidence, together with a statement pro-forma and guidance notes. From there, a police officer reviews the evidence and takes a decision on any action that is appropriate.

Chief Inspector Darren Wareing, North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit, said: “North Wales Police recognises that the vast majority of the public want to use the road network to get from A to B safely. 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 whilst using their smart devices behind the wheel.

North Wales Police is encouraging road users of all types to send in footage.

Chief Inspector Wareing added: “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.

“Often the car driver has taken an unnecessary risk – or didn’t even see them! We will not tolerate this and wish to support all road users, including those who are most vulnerable, to have a safe journey.”

Justin Espie, Crown Prosecution Service Cymru-Wales, said: “Operation Snap builds on the already positive working relationship between police and prosecutors in North Wales.

“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, thereby updating and improving driver skills. In more serious cases, video footage is often the best evidence available to help secure a conviction.”

 

 

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If nothing else this may well make the owner of the dash cam drive/ride correctly to avoid self incrimination! I ride a motorcycle as well as drive a car and from what I have seen it's often the bikers who put themselves and others at risk. A little more observation, anticipation and patience allows everyone to flow more freely in traffic.
Mark, Gloucestershire.

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
+4

I'm not sure why a driver would want to view the screen whilst driving anyway, if it's only displaying what's already visible to the driver through the more conveniently situated windscreen. Initial alignment I would imagine could be done whilst stationary.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (8) | Disagree (3)
+5

Interesting idea. In Sussex Police have been running Operation Crackdown for some years as a means to report illegal and anti-social driving and it is almost exactly what is reported here. It works too! Also, just a thought (and I'm happy to be corrected) but when I fitted my dash cam it had clear instructions on where it could be sited so it didn't fall foul of the regs on visibility.

As well as the law prescribing suction-mounted camera placement, there are also serious stipulations around viewing the accompanying LED screen. These stem from The Road Vehicles Regulations 1986.Therefore I believe this makes against the law to be able to watch the screen when you drive. To be safe I set mine to go blank after starting up so I can't see any images when I'm driving. So if fitted and used correctly there shouldn't be an issue of driver distraction
Ron Paterson

Agree (10) | Disagree (0)
+10

So I am not in a very good mood today, the day's started late and I am on my bike and in a hurry to get to an appointment. The car drivers are driving me even madder. I am near the kerb and a vehicle overtakes me. It's not to close too me but what the hell, because of my mood I swerve towards the kerb and quickly correct myself. I shout at the driver for no reason other than to vent my growing anger. I have caught all that on video and give it to the police. All they see is me going on my lawful way and then the front of the car as it overtakes and my swerve in an apparent attempt to avoid being hit.

The police believe me and the driver is summoned for sect. 3 or even sect 2 dangerous driving. Nice one. We could all do with a bit more of this. Beware the world is full of fakes and that included Youtube.
Bob Craven Lancs

Agree (17) | Disagree (1)
+16

Seems like a good idea in principle but the police will only use evidence and pursue 'offenders' if there's likely to be a few quid in it. I lament the demise of proper police patrols.
Paul from Barking

Agree (15) | Disagree (7)
+8

If you don't want to obey the law for the law's sake, then the fear of getting caught is a pretty good deterrent to help stop doing wrong. Perhaps some people would think twice about certain "manoeuvres" they were about to embark on if they thought it might be being filmed?
Guzzi, Newport

Agree (18) | Disagree (2)
+16

The more I think about the potential of this technology the better the prospects. If they become sophisticated enough to be acceptable as evidence of speeding i.e. using distance and time calculations, one day, potentially every vehicle on the road could be a discreet mobile speed camera. Also, rear mounted cameras could capture the tail-gaters. These are the two biggest problems on the road I think and with the will of right-minded motorists and the encouragement of other police forces, I think it bodes well for long term improvements in road behaviour.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (11) | Disagree (10)
+1

Interesting point Charles. I'm sure you are right that amongst the millions of motorists in the UK (fortunately not all of them are driving in Wales) there will be the odd one/few who focuses more on the camera shot than their own driving. Such is life. However the vast majority who use such devices (not me) will, I'm also sure, be pleased to find an easier route to share their "evidence" with the police. I think the positives far out weigh the negatives on this one.
Pat, Wales

Agree (18) | Disagree (3)
+15

I wonder if North Wales Police have considered the effect this initiative might have on road safety. Perhaps they have calculated that the cost of the extra crashes caused by people driving with one eye on the camera screen and one eye on the subject of their video as they attempt to get the 'money shot' will be outweighed by the extra cash they hope to make from the subsequent road safety awareness courses that motorists will 'buy' to avoid having penalty points added to their licences.
Charles, England

Agree (12) | Disagree (17)
-5

I cannot help but laugh at a motorist who thought he did the right thing - he sent dashcam footage to the police with regards to a motoring offence committed by another road user. Much to his chagrin he received a letter inviting HIMSELF to attend a driving awareness course due to his own actions, this was recorded on his own dashcam. Just because you're with-dashcam doesn't make you a good driver.
David Weston, Corby

Agree (28) | Disagree (1)
+27

I think this is what's needed and is definitely the way forward - excellent news. Let's hope other forces do the same and the public are encouraged to come forward with evidence. Could also improve the quality of the data associated with collision recording as well.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (17) | Disagree (10)
+7