Patrick Harvie says Police Scotland should be ‘red faced’ over failure to introduce dashcam scheme
Police Scotland should be “red faced” at being among the last forces in the UK to introduce a system for submitting dashcam footage of traffic accidents, active travel minister Patrick Harvie has said.
The minister responsible for walking and cycling north of the Border spoke of his “great frustration” at the delay to the launch of the national dashcam safety portal, and he pledged to continue to “rattle the cage” with Police Scotland.
Mr Harvie’s comments at Cycling Scotland’s annual conference in Edinburgh on Thursday come almost a year after officials from the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, which said it had fully funded the portal, demanded to know why the force had cast doubt on being able to launch it.
The minister announced the scheme in March last year, which is one of Scottish Government’s Programme for Government commitments, and it was due to be in place in January. It follows lobbying by motoring and cycling groups.
The online portal is seen as making it easier for people to send video evidence from cameras in their vehicles and on their bikes, as well as making the assessment of footage by police officers for potential crimes more consistent. Footage currently has to be taken to a police station or collected by a police officer.
Mr Harvie said: “This is a source of great frustration. It’s not an area that is under the direct control of ministers – that’s part of my frustration. It’s Police Scotland, who are operationally independent, and this is something that we need it to act on.”
Mr Harvie said: "Police Scotland should be slightly red faced to be one of the last forces in the UK to have made progress on this. It should be a natural expectation that the systems for reporting dangerous behaviour on the roads are modern, accessible and flexible.
"We will continue to rattle the cage from within Government. I want to see this happen as quickly as possible, and let’s make sure they hear the cage rattling.”
Transport Scotland said the Scottish Government had already provided Police Scotland with £300,000 for the scheme as part of the Road Safety Framework Fund.
It told Scotland on Sunday in November last year: “We have sought both a programme update from Police Scotland and clarity on what steps need to be taken to implement this Programme for Government commitment.”
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police Scotland remains keen to improve ways that people can submit digital evidence, such as dashcam footage, as part of our commitment to improving road safety and our role in modernising criminal justice.
“Hard choices are being taken to maintain effective policing within available funding. Early review of all projects has suggested the use of the already established digital evidence sharing capability (DESC) could efficiently provide this as part of its roll-out.
“This would give members of the public an easy to use method to submit digital evidence if it’s required to help an investigation. A DESC pilot in Dundee is already underway and discussions are ongoing.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.