33 organisations call for online system to help catch dangerous drivers

Jim Densham's picture

33 organisations call for online system to help catch dangerous drivers

Last week, Cycling UK led the production of a joint letter from 33 organisations to Police Scotland, asking them to introduce a nationwide camera footage submission and reporting system. Our campaigns and policy manager, Jim Densham, tells us why this system is needed and how you can help call for it by signing our election petition

Scotland is the first nation of the UK to set a goal for zero deaths and serious injuries on the roads. The Scottish Government is aiming for this ‘Vision Zero’ to be met by 2050, and by 2030 it aims to have the best road safety record anywhere in the world.

Such an ambitious goal should be matched with urgent effort to employ every weapon in the armoury to fight the scourge of road danger. Sadly, in Scotland this isn’t the case. Police Scotland is not making use of a widely used online system which allows people to easily upload their camera footage of dangerous driving and report it to the police.

You can help put pressure on political parties in Scotland ahead of the Scottish elections on 6 May to make the introduction of this system a priority in their manifestos. Sign and share our election petition to show politicians that cycling and road safety are important to you.

 

Sign and share our election petition

 

These days, many people use dashcams or cameras attached to helmets or handlebars – some insurance companies encourage their use. You may have seen TV programmes or YouTube videos consisting entirely of incidents on the road or collisions caught on camera.  

Roads police can’t be everywhere at once, but there are thousands of cameras out there on the roads recording footage which could be used in evidence. It’s a no-brainer for Police Scotland to employ online technology which makes it easier for people to report road crime and supply the evidence.

Unfortunately, Police Scotland lag behind the majority of police forces in the UK on this. Online systems, such as through the National Dash Cam Safety Portal are already in use in 40 of the 45 police force areas in the UK – but not in Scotland. We shouldn’t be the last to get the tools to help prevent avoidable deaths.

Our research has revealed that these systems cut an average of 8-12 hours of police time per case, by using dedicated civilian staff to assess the video evidence and reducing the workload of uniformed officers. 

Not only does it save time and money, introducing a system is effective in catching dangerous drivers. 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 in November that 77 per cent of submissions to their system had resulted in action being taken against drivers. 

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.

Joint letter

Last week, Cycling UK coordinated the writing of a joint letter to the head of Road Policing in Scotland to call for them to introduce a nationwide camera footage submission and reporting system as soon as possible. In total, 33 organisations signed the letter representing all of Scotland’s road users including the AA, the RAC, road safety charity Brake, British Motorcyclists Federation, British Horse Society Scotland and Living Streets Scotland - the full list can be seen below.

We’ve not yet had an official response from chief superintendent Louise Blakelock, but she was quoted in a Scotsman write-up about the joint letter as saying, "There is no immediate plan to expand existing online reporting mechanisms and allow digital submissions from the public in place of a crime report."

This initial response is disappointing, so the joint letter isn’t the end of the matter - we will continue to campaign for an online reporting system for Scotland and for greater effort from Police Scotland to reduce road danger.

Government is also key to making this happen. Police Scotland need them to provide the political support and financial resources required to tackle dangerous driving and road crime.

What you can do now

That’s why we are also calling on all political parties to make this an election priority and commit to this in their own Scottish election manifestos. We want them to follow Ask No. 10 in our Manifesto for Cycling which calls on the next Scottish Government to ‘Make it a priority for Police Scotland to set up an online system for anyone to upload camera footage of dangerous driving behaviour…to empower responsible road users and improve driving behaviours.’

It's high time the police introduced this simple and effective tool and you can help put pressure on the parties to make our roads safer by signing our petition.

Please sign and share the petition to show politicians that road safety is important to you.

 

Sign and share our election petition

Comprehensive list of the 33 signatories to the joint letter: 

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. 

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