One in four dash cam submissions to police end in prosecution

Published 05 February 2021

As many as 89 dashcam video recordings of alleged motoring offences were submitted to police forces every day in 2019, according to data analysed by the RAC.

A total of 32,370 pieces of footage were received by 24 police forces that accept video evidence of driving offences from members of the public, double the number recorded in 2018 (15,159).

Data from the RAC’s freedom of information request also shows that a quarter of these (25 per cent – 8148) went on to result in prosecutions.

Police forces, according to the RAC’s study, are making it increasingly easy for drivers and other road users to submit camera footage of unsuspecting alleged rule-breakers, with all of Britain’s 44 forces now accepting dash cam video, and the vast majority online via their websites.

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The greatest number of potentially prosecutable offences in 2019 were submitted to The Met Police, a total of 8082. Surrey had the second-highest tally with 3542, followed by West Midlands – 3242 – in the third spot.

In October 2020, dash cam manufacturer - Nextbase - revealed that more than half of the videos uploaded to its safety portal have resulted in further police action. Favoured by police for saving an average of eight hours per case, Nextbase says its platform had saved these forces at least 170,000 hours.

The footage submitted to police related to the following offences: dangerous driving, careless driving/driving without due care and attention, driving too close to cyclists, contravening red traffic lights, contravening double white lines, contravening ‘no entry’ signs, illegal use of a handheld mobile phone and evidence of vehicles apparently without MOTs.

RAC road safety spokesman Simon Williams said: “Even before the decline in the number of roads police enforcing traffic offences, law-abiding drivers were often frustrated that there was never an officer there to deal with infringements they witnessed.”

“As so many drivers and cyclists are now using dash cams and helmet cameras every road user needs to be very conscious that any of their actions that aren’t in accordance with the law could end up with the police. Some will inevitably find this out the hard way while others will hopefully become increasingly mindful of it.”

Comments

hissingsid    on 7 February 2021

I would like to see dashcams fitted as standard to all new cars. The extra cost could at least partly be covered by discontinuing the fitting of touchscreens which are just as dangerous to use whilst driving as mobile phones.

NEIL SCARLETT    on 8 February 2021

I think that this is a great idea with limitless potential. For example, the East German Stasi very successfully recruited DDR citizens to report their neighbours on a wide range of serious criminal activity such as watching West German television. I am currently uploading footage of a driver who looked at me in a funny way at the traffic lights and hopefully he will get what he deserves. Not sure that I would be brave enough to report someone engaged in burglary but so what. Robbing someone's house is a mere bagatelle. Let's get our priorities right and jail everyone who does 31 Mph in a 30 limit.

Edited by NEIL SCARLETT on 08/02/2021 at 20:21

Peter Axworthy    on 9 February 2021

I agree with Neal.

It seems to me the public will be doing the Police work for them at this rate. There will be bad minded people who go out for a drive just to catch people out and have them fined.

The whole idea for Dash Cam is for a persons piece of mind when it comes to insurance.

There are a lot of vindictive people who have nothing better to do.

GeoffJ    on 8 February 2021

But when will they allow us to submit video evidence of speeding. Making dash cam video admissible in court for speeding violations could be the biggest single contribution to road safety for 2021.

Mr Nexus    on 8 February 2021

Complete bulls***. Want to live in a Big Brother Police state - no thanks.

sixcylinder    on 8 February 2021

In reply to Geoff J.
Take a look at the DfT accident statistics, exceeding the speed limit accounts for less than 5% of all KSI (killed and seriously injured) accidents. Not paying attention to driving (using mobile phones, not taking care when manoeuvring, making turns incorrectly etc.) account for around 43% of KSI accidents.
Exceeding speed limits is not the biggest crime in the world but driving whilst not paying attention is the biggest single item which can be recorded on a dash camera can be used in court.

robert battley    on 8 February 2021

yeah statistics are thrown around like confetti at a wedding , i did read somewhere that 27% of fatal accidents are caused by drunk drivers whiich means 73% are caused by sober ones , in light of that statistic if sober drivers would stay off the road there would be less deaths, now im not in any way supporting drunk drivers but pointing out that statistics can be easily confused or looked at in a way that favours whoever is trying to make a polnt

   on 8 February 2021

A few words of WARNING about using Dashcam's when driving abroad in the following European countries !

Quote:

According to Which.co.uk, the following countries ALL have some sort of restriction on dash cam usage, ranging from the position of its installation to an outright ban:

AUSTRIA

Status: BANNED

Using a dash cam in Austria is ILLEGAL, full-stop. First-time offenders will be slapped with a whopping €10,000 fine, with repeat offenders fined €25,000. In fact, it’s not even legal to own a dash cam. Be sure to leave yours behind if you’re planning to head there on your trip.

LUXEMBOURG

Status: BANNED

Head south from Belgium, and the rules don’t change all that much. While at least owning a dash cam is allowed in Luxembourg, using one is still TOTALLY ILLEGAL. Make sure it stays in the glovebox for the duration of your time there.

PORTUGAL

Status: BANNED

It may be totally legal to use a dash cam on your drive through Spain to get there, but once you arrive in Portugal it is ILLEGAL to own or use a dash cam, so leave yours at home if you’ll be driving there.

SWITZERLAND

Status: Legal, but heavily conditional

Saving the most complex for last, dash cam usage is a very muddy area in Switzerland. While they’re legal in theory, it’s all but impossible to get any use out of them while still obeying strict Swiss data protection laws.

For a start, they can never just be used for entertainment or documenting a journey – there has to be a legal purpose to recording. Then they must conform to the Swiss ‘principal of transparency’: it needs to be obvious that those being recorded are being recorded. As dash cams are discreet by nature, and other drivers are usually only aware of their existence after an accident occurs, that’s a box likely to remain unticked.

It must also adhere to the ‘principle of proportionality’. Given that dash cams record for the entirety of a journey, the ratio of important stuff being filmed to unimportant stuff being filmed will probably be extremely unfavourable. Hundreds of people, vehicles and buildings that have nothing to do with any incident (if, in fact, an incident even occurs) will end up being illicitly recorded.

If you’ve read all that and are thinking to yourself that it doesn’t sound as if it’s possible to use a dash cam in Switzerland at all, you’d be just about right. Keeping the roads safe is viewed as the responsibility of the police, and it would be for the best if you kept your dash cam disconnected throughout your travels there.
For more information on how UK law affects dash cam owners, read our comprehensive guide to dash cams and the law.

End quote.

Richard Myers    on 8 February 2021

"For more information on how UK law affects dash cam owners, read our comprehensive guide to dash cams and the law."

Where do I find this comprehensive guide?

Richard Myers    on 9 February 2021

"For more information on how UK law affects dash cam owners, read our comprehensive guide to dash cams and the law."

Where do I find this comprehensive guide?

Mr Nexus    on 8 February 2021

Dashcam footage should NOT be accepted as admissable by the courts or Police. It is not the public's responsibility to act as collectors of evidence for the Police to use in prosecutions. Only in cases of accident or injury where it is essential to establish blame should footage be used, and only to establish blame not necessarily prosecution. Petty/minor traffic violations should not be policed in this way. The public should not be used as unofficial police officers deciding what is right by having the power to potentially get people into trouble. The scope for vindictive, vicarious punishment for minor infringements is huge. This must stop now!

Trev012    on 9 February 2021

Mr Nexus

I don't agree. If some stupid boy racer wants to overtake me on a hill or a bend and puts myself and other road users in danger, surely dashcam footage on route to the polis will stop this driver from doing the same thing again, thus hopefully saving a life.

Edited by Trev012 on 09/02/2021 at 10:16

martin parish    on 9 February 2021

For Mr Nexus
It is the responsibility of the public to report someone bracking the law so get your facts right before you put up your comment.i think sending in dascam footage of those bracking the law is a good idea and if the police would give you some money for it there would be a lot more people finding there salfs in court

stephen heath    on 9 February 2021

do any checks into validating these dashcam footage to discount any adulteration , i feel sure someone with tech knowledge could doctor the footage .

flumff    on 9 February 2021

When you get in the driving seta to drive a car, your there to do a job, drive.

Use all your skills to do the best job you can, just like a job.

How hard can it be? The more cameras the better.

If your following the rules, why be afraid!

Les Boris    on 9 February 2021

If the police gave us guidance on what offences have been prosecuted and what is needed on the footage to secure a conviction, we could ensure we capture what is needed. People who dont like this sort of thing are those that like to break the law and get away with it, what other conclusion could one come to.

aethelwulf    on 9 February 2021

Much depends on how the police treat the footage. Rge police are not beyond being mistaken over issues ( see multiple 'sex crimes' investigations) so I hope they use any foorgae backed by good intelligence. The deterrant factor is useful though and being 'cut up' is always a worrying incident it would be good to get a bit of Karma out of it. So all in all I back it , used with care.

NEIL SCARLETT    on 9 February 2021

When I posted my tongue in cheek comments regarding the Stasi I fully expected to be castigated by the " I never break the law" brigade. I therefore find it uplifting that a few posts are in tacit agreement with me and that we are not quite ready to sleep walk into a surveillance state. Obviously it is imperative we have rules governing the use of the road but in addition we need road sense and common sense. You cannot have a complete structure of rules which replace experience and common sense. I have been on the road since 1972 and hopefully have gained some experience. That experience has taught me that we all make mistakes! So let's concentrate on the constant improvement of our own driving rather than monitoring the actions of others. Obviously if one witnesses an accident it is ones duty to come forward with any evidence, but I believe that some drivers are frustrated wannabe police officers. Indeed some one asked the question "when will they allow us to submit video evidence of speeding". Well the sarcastic answer is when they allow you to put a blue light and a siren on your car. The question is irrelevant anyway because speed can easily be calculated from dash cam footage using fixed reference points, trees lamp posts etc. The major problem is that there are far too few police traffic patrols and an over reliance on automation. I understand that drink driving is on the increase but a road side camera or dash cam is useless against an intoxicated driver so long as they appear to driving normally at the time. In my humble opinion the answer is - 1. More marked traffic cars driven by suitably trained traffic officers who can give a word of friendly advice or throw the book at the extreme miscreants. In other words use their discretion. 2. Stop this inexorable march towards enforcement via automation, it will simply lead to the increased use of false plates. 3.Ensure every road user has the tools to constantly improve their driving via education and the development of a self critical attitude. Maybe a ten yearly driving assessment is worth consideration. Alternatively let's all wear a tag so that the authorities can trace us at any time, I'm off to the Eric Blair centre tomorrow to get mine fitted. Meanwhile if anyone captures a vehicle bearing the number KAR 120C doing naughties,I hold my hands up, it's me.

Edited by NEIL SCARLETT on 09/02/2021 at 18:55

retiredspeedmerchant    on 11 February 2021

Of course, if the footage shows that the sender is breaking the law, they too will be prosecuted! IE recorded speed, lane hogging etc.

modena    on 12 February 2021

The last thing we need are vindictive spies recording every minor motoring transgression. We all make mistakes.

Graham Tucker    on 13 February 2021

Are these vid based prosecutions successful, or is this just a police scare tactic. What proportion of these prosecutions succeed compared to non vid prosecutions ?

More interestingly how many of the vid based prosecutions boomerang back on the originator because it actually incriminates them due to an infringement of their own ? I understand this is far from unknown.

Lada    on 13 February 2021

Encouraging people to spy on each other is dangerous. Britain has a unique driving culture - aggressive slowness that I have never encountered anywhere else. Hogging the middle land on a motorway at 50mph (which when you are in an HGV and can't use the third lane and can see nice incline coming up is a little annoying). Accelerating when being overtaken - which is akin to attempted murder in extreme cases. Driving along a 60 mph A road in fine weather, with good visibility, at 35 mph. Pulling out at the last possible minute in front of oncoming traffic.

The only country I have ever driven in where any, and I mean any, form of overtaking is greeted with offensive hand signs and flashed headlight is not not one whereby we should be encouraging spying. Much of that footage I am sure is just plain nasty, spiteful vindictiveness from the kind of people who twitch their curtains, ride bicycles on the white lines in the centre of the road and want everyone to have ID cards.

We should trust more in the common sense - and self preservation instincts - of people. No body in truth wants to have an accident, nobody wants to hurt anyone else on the roads - that's why most of us drive coolly, sensibly and calmly. Enjoy the ride, a bot of give and take (if I'm driving a truck I am aware that I could be holding people up so if it is safe and there is a tailback, I will pull over into a lay-by and let people go through) and remember we are all human.

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