Fleet News

Police mobile phone seizure guidance denied

The national lead for roads policing has denied issuing guidance to officers to seize mobile phones after every road collision.

National newspaper reports suggested last weekend that phone checks would apply to any accident. Previously they were made only in accidents where people were killed or seriously injured.

However, Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, who is also responsible for roads policing at the Association of Chief Police Officers, has labelled the reports inaccurate.

She said: "At no point have I issued guidance to officers to seize mobile phones from drivers at the site of every road traffic collision.

"It is fair to say that we as a service are looking at ways of making officers and drivers more aware of the difference between the offences of driving while not in proper control of the vehicle - which is a distraction offence - and driving while using a mobile phone.

“Part of this process involves making sure officers know the best means of using information within a driver's mobile phone when building evidence for a successful prosecution, such as finding from call or text logs if the phone was in use at the time of an incident.”

Davenport explained that it has been standard practice to seize mobile phones from drivers at the scenes of very serious collisions for some time as part of the information and evidence gathering process.

But, she continued: “It is not now, nor will it be, standard practice to seize phones from drivers after every collision.”

More than 500 people are thought to be killed or seriously injured every year because drivers were texting, emailing, or posting on social media website.

As a result, the Government is considering doubling the penalty for drivers caught texting at the wheel to six points on their licence.

Davenport said: "Drivers must continue to be aware not only of the risks posed by being distracted by mobile phones while in control of a car, but the serious penalties which they will face if they are caught.

“We are unequivocal in our determination to keep all road users safe."


 


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Comments

  • Dave Johnson - 31/07/2014 13:41

    One of my staff had his comms equipment seized recently following an accident. The police kept the phones and PDA as evidence but the sim cards were returned two days later. We were able to use the sims in other devices, the equipment was used in evidence as part of the defence. My driver was not using any of the equipment. As we are a large organisation the temporary loss of kit was not a problem as we have spares, I can see issues if the driver is self employed or driving as a private citizen. I guess if you are not using it at the time then you have nothing to worry about.

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