Police forces across Wales are extending a pilot scheme to use public dashcam footage to help catch dangerous drivers. Operation Snap was run by North Wales Police (NWP) in October last year and is now being rolled out across the country.
NWP has dealt with 129 cases as a result of footage submitted and said it has helped reduce case times by 12 hours each. Footage can be used to prove innocence as well as guilt.
A recent survey by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) found 50% of fleets are now using dashcams and another 30% are actively considering introducing them. UK dashcam provider VisionTrack has seen sales increase 40% in the past year.
A spokesperson for NWP said: “ is our response to the increasing volume of video and photographic evidence relating to driving offences that members of the public have seen and submitted.
“These reports have been coming in to us in all sorts of ways. So we have developed a streamlined process to deal with them, which will, hopefully, make it easier for all involved.”
The police are advising fleets and any members of the public that have footage from a dashcam that has captured dangerous driving to upload it to its secure online portal.
John Pryor, ACFO chairman, said if a dashcam is company-owned it would be down to that individual fleet to decide on releasing footage.
He said: “I have heard of companies that have used the dashcam to stop bogus insurance claims and also provide details for police.
“There could also be reasons fleets do not want to release but I’m sure a lot of companies would provide input if requested under their civic duties. Dash cams have a use and, like all the equipment on cars, they have to be used responsibly.”
The remit of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) is to help coordinate operations, but a spokesman told Fleet News rolling out Operation Snap across the rest of the UK is not currently under consideration. He said: “Forces are operationally independent so this is, at present, still an operation without involvement from us.
“If we were to do this, it would involve senior NWP officers making a case to us, usually through the relevant portfolio – in this case, roads policing led by chief constable Anthony Bangham – who would then consider whether it would be helpful to roll this out. As of yet, that hasn’t happened and we haven’t discussed this in the roads portfolio.”
However, Operation Snap has been flagged to the NPCC as something to watch and raise at the next roads meeting.
NWP has urged drivers not to upload any footage to social media, something The AA is already lobbying Government about due to the growing number of people sharing footage online. However, The AA is supportive of dashcam evidence being submitted to police, who can assess it and speak to the other party before action is taken.
Any driver uploading footage to a police online portal must be willing to give a statement and go to court to support the video evidence if needed. Footage has to be unedited and include the whole journey, not just the incident.