Campaign win: New police dashcam reporting portal in Scotland

In a boost for road safety in Scotland and following a Cycling UK-led campaign, funding has been confirmed to develop a new system to report dangerous driving and other road crimes.
Cycling UK's campaigns and policy manager in Scotland, Jim Densham, explains how members helped make it happen

A new National Dashcam Safety Portal will be introduced by Police Scotland to allow responsible road users to report road crime directly to an online police system and help make the roads safer for all.

This commitment comes after a campaign led by Cycling UK in Scotland and supported by 33 organisations representing Scotland’s road users.

Minister for Active Travel, Patrick Harvie MSP, made the announcement during a debate on Active Travel in the Scottish Parliament on 17 March.

In his opening speech Mr Harvie explained that Transport Scotland has allocated £300,000 to the National Dashcam Safety Portal system in Scotland which will allow members of the public to upload footage of dangerous driving and other road crimes to the police. 

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s policy and campaigns manager for Scotland, said: “Following our campaigning, Cycling UK is extremely pleased to see Transport Scotland and Police Scotland’s commitment to introducing a national dashcam safety portal which will help responsible road users provide evidence of dangerous and careless driving. 

“Roads police officers can’t be everywhere on the roads but as the use of dashcams and helmetcams continues to grow, they can provide added eyes on the road collecting valuable evidence.” 

Campaign led by Cycling UK in Scotland

The campaign began in 2020 when Cycling UK demanded reform following a roadside assault on member David Brennan.  

Initial discussions with Police Scotland were followed up in March 2021, when Cycling UK led a group of 33 organisations representing all of Scotland’s road users calling for Police Scotland to introduce a nationwide system to make Scotland’s roads safer.

The organisations – including Cycling UK, the AA, the RAC, road safety charity Brake, British Motorcyclists Federation, British Horse Society Scotland and Living Streets Scotland – sent an open letter to Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock, Head of Road Policing at Police Scotland, saying Scotland needed a system that makes it quicker and easier to report and prosecute road crime.

Online reporting portal benefits

The new online system will allow footage of dangerous driving such as close passes to be easily submitted by the public, to be assessed, and action taken by police, making the roads safer for everyone, as well as saving valuable police time. 

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.

Cycling UK understands that such systems cut an average of 8-12 hours of police time per case, as dedicated civilian staff assess the video evidence to reduce the workload of uniformed officers.

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 that 77% of submissions to their system had resulted in action being taken against drivers.

Under development

Cycling UK continues to liaise with Police Scotland on the development of the pilot scheme in Scotland and introduction of the new portal.

Jim Densham explained: “We are working with Police Scotland to advise on the new system and a public awareness campaign to accompany it.

"Cyclists and other responsible road users will need to know that the system is in place and how to use it but as important is that drivers and anyone causing danger on the roads know that they could be caught on camera by fellow road users and their irresponsible actions can be quickly reported to police.

“We want to see this new technology introduced as soon as possible to stop road crime, act as a strong deterrence, protect vulnerable road users, and give more people the confidence to get out on bikes.”

Campaign win

The campaign was a positive collaboration, supported by the 33 organisations listed below and Cycling UK members who provided valuable experience of bicycle-mounted cameras and using online reporting portals in other parts of the UK.

Jim Densham said, "Our members are vital to our being able to campaign for more road safety measures and in supporting our campaigns by contacting MSPs, government and the Police to call for better road safety." 

The 33 organisations which signed the letter in March 2021 are:

The AA, Aberdeen Cycle Forum, Action Vision Zero, Angus Cycle Hub, The Bike Station, Brake, British Horse Society Scotland, British Motorcycle Federation, ByCycle, Cycling Dumfries, Cycling Scotland, Cycling UK in Scotland, Dundee Cycling Forum, Forth Environment Link, Glasgow Eco Trust, GoBike, Grampian Cycle Partnership, horsescotland, IAM RoadSmart, Living Streets Scotland, North Fife Cycling, Paths for All, Perth Area Living Streets, The RAC, RoadPeace, Road Traffic Accident Law (Scotland) LLP, Scottish Cycling, Spokes Lothian, St Andrews Space for Cycling, Stirling Cycle Training, Sustrans Scotland, Transform Scotland, Wheels for Wellbeing.