Scotland’s roads “less safe due to Police Scotland inaction”, says Cycling UK
Police Scotland’s inaction has left Scotland’s roads less safe following the decision to drop plans for a new road safety tool allowing the public to submit video evidence of road crimes, according to Cycling UK.
The National Dashcam Safety Portal (NDSP) would provide an easy-to-use online portal where members of the public could report dangerous driving or other road crimes by uploading footage directly to Police Scotland for review. Such a system is urgently needed to improve road safety for all, while also saving police valuable time.
Police Scotland is the only police force in Great Britain without such a system.
Police Scotland’s decision was announced in response to a Parliamentary Question from Labour MSP Rhoda Grant on 6 October and comes despite recent assurance by the Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop that the National Dashcam Safety Portal had not been scrapped.
Police Scotland originally committed to piloting a reporting portal in March 2022 following a three-year campaign led by Cycling UK and supported by 32 organisations representing a wide range of road users and road safety organisations, including the AA, the RAC, Brake and RoadPeace. At that time, Transport Scotland made £300,000 of funding available to develop the portal.
But last month, Minister for Justice Angela Constance revealed that the system has been cancelled by Police Scotland, who concluded that “a stand-alone portal is not the optimum route to create the capability for digital media submissions to be submitted by members of the public”.
A different system, the Digital Evidence Sharing Capability, is currently being piloted in Dundee, and is scheduled for national roll out in 2025, although it is not thought to provide the same functionality as the NDSP.
The charity questions why Police Scotland is pursuing a new system for 2025 when existing tried and tested systems in use across the rest of Great Britain could be implemented much more quickly, and it believes that more delay could cost more lives.
Reports to the National Dash Cam Safety Portal (NDCSP) in 2021, when it was being used by 37 UK police forces, led to action being taken against drivers in more than 80% of cases. Such portals have also been shown to save police time, as the footage can be reviewed by trained civilian staff.
A YouGov poll in August 2021 showed that 59% of Scottish adults supported the introduction of such a system, while just 17% opposed it.
Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said:
“We are extremely disappointed that Police Scotland has gone back on its commitment to develop and roll out the National Dashcam Safety Portal across Scotland as a vital road safety tool.
“The technology is there, so it’s hard to understand why Police Scotland has refused to adopt it, when the case for its introduction is overwhelming: it will save them time and money, is widely supported by the public and road user groups and is used successfully everywhere else in Great Britain.
“Cancelling the NDSP and delaying until at least 2025, with a lesser replacement, puts responsible drivers, cyclists and pedestrians in Scotland at risk.
“Cycling UK is happy to work with the police to ensure that the people of Scotland receive the system that they were promised.”
Neil Greig, policy advisor at IAM RoadSmart, added:
“Law-abiding Scottish drivers will be disappointed at the continued delays in delivering a simple dash cam portal system that would allow them to submit evidence of dangerous behaviour on our roads.
“The key thing for us is that the system chosen is user friendly, easy to access, reliable and in place as soon as possible. The experience of English police forces is that evidence from road users has been a useful extra tool for them in promoting road safety.”
Notes to editors
- Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often. www.cyclinguk.org
- Parliamentary Question asked by Rhoda Grant on 22 September with response from Angela Constance on 6 October 2023.
- Original letter to Police Scotland from Cycling UK and 32 other organisations.
- Twitter thread containing details of Fiona Hyslop’s response to letter from Cycling UK in July 2023.
- For more details of the Cycling UK research on NDSPs in use by police forces across the UK, please contact Sam Waller as above.
- Data released in August 2021 showed that reports to the National Dash Cam Safety Portal (NDCSP), which was used by 37 UK forces at that time, resulted in some form of action being taken against drivers in over 80% of cases.
- YouGov poll: Total sample size was 1,204 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 16-20 April 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 16+).
- Responses to the YouGov poll question “To what extent would you support or oppose the Scottish government working with the police in Scotland to set up an online system that allows the public to upload footage of dangerous driving on Scottish roads?” “Strongly support”: 24%; “Somewhat support”: 35%; “neither support nor oppose”: 17%; “somewhat oppose": 10%; “ strongly oppose”: 7%; “don’t know”: 8%.
Press contact information
For more information contact Sam Waller (email@example.com or 07775 595 998). Out of hours, call 07786 320 713.