Scottish system for submitting dash/helmet cam footage of lawbreakers urged

Drivers and cyclists must be able to more easily submit dash and helmet cam footage of law breakers to police with the creation of a new Scottish system following success elsewhere, motoring and cycling groups said today.

The 33 organisations, including the AA, IAM RoadSmart and Cycling UK, want Police Scotland to follow the example of most forces south of the Border.

They said it was an “essential tool” to improve road safety.

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Cycling UK said 40 of the UK’s police forces had such systems, which had saved eight to 12 hours of police time per case by using civilian staff to assess footage submitted.

Cycle cam footage of an incident involving a rider and driver near Glasgow. Picture: David Brennan

It said between December 2019 and January 2021, the Welsh version, Operation Snap, saw the police take action against poor driving in 58 per cent of cases where footage was submitted.

Northumbria Police took action against drivers in 77 per cent of the cases submitted last November.

The Scottish Government’s new Road Safety Framework to 2030 refers to the proliferation of dash/helmet cams as an “important development”.

It said Operation Snap had increase detection rates “without significant extra enforcement costs, and the public has reacted positively to this initiative, often viewed as a form of community policing”.

However, The Scotsman understands Police Scotland does not have technology in place yet to establish a new system.

Footage previously submitted to Police Scotland has included this incident involving a cyclist and motorist.

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Other organisations backing the call included road safety campaigners Brake, British Motorcyclists Federation, Cycling Scotland, British Horse Society Scotland, Living Streets Scotland, Sustrans and Spokes.

In a letter to Police Scotland’s head of road policing Louise Blakelock, they said: “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.”

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.

"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.”

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “The increase in the use of dashcams on the roads provides an opportunity for improving traffic enforcement and, ultimately, making the roads safer for everyone.”

Chief Superintendent Blakelock said: “We are always looking at ways to enhance our ability to investigate road traffic offences.

"We regularly use footage from dash cams, head cams and CCTV to investigate road traffic collisions and offences, and currently can receive digital submissions from the public, once a crime report has been made.

"There is no immediate plan to expand existing online reporting mechanisms and allow digital submissions from the public in place of a crime report.”

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