A coalition of 33 organisations are calling on Police Scotland to introduce a submission system for camera footage, similar to those already in operation across large parts of the UK.
The organisations – including the AA, the RAC, Cycling UK and Brake – have written an open letter to Louise Blakelock, head of road policing at Police Scotland, saying Scotland needs a system that will make it “quicker and easier” to report and prosecute road crime.
In the letter the organisations state that: “A camera footage system would be good news for all responsible road users and the police. The only bad news would be for irresponsible and law-breaking road users who would be more effectively held to account.”
Online systems allowing people to upload camera footage and report incidents are already in use in 40 of the 45 police force areas in the UK.
Between December 2019 and January 2021, Operation Snap in Wales saw the police take action against poor driving in 58% of cases where footage was submitted. Northumbria Police stated in November that 77% of submissions to their system had resulted in action being taken against drivers.
The coalition says the increasing use of dashcams and cameras used by cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders has proved an effective way of taking action against dangerous drivers and making the roads safer, as well as saving valuable police time.
It points to Cycling UK research which shows that such systems cut an average of 8-12 hours of police time per case, by using dedicated civilian staff to assess the video evidence and reducing the workload of uniformed officers.
Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s policy and campaigns manager for Scotland, said: “Scotland was the first nation in the UK to announce a Vision Zero target for people dying on our roads – we shouldn’t be the last to get the tools to help prevent avoidable deaths.
“Police Scotland can’t be everywhere at once, but if they have an effective means for the public to submit evidence of dangerous behaviour on our roads, they won’t need to be.”
Edmund King, AA president, said: “The majority of drivers show a responsible attitude when sharing the road with vulnerable road users and we have promoted this via our Think Bikes! sticker campaign and training of learners via our driving schools.
“However, there are a minority who take too many risks on the roads and therefore we believe an online camera footage submission and reporting system in Scotland would improve road safety for all.”