Funding for a camera footage portal will make it easier to report and prosecute road crimes.
The announcement by Police Scotland and Transport Scotland follows a Cycling UK-led campaign calling for reporting system involving the AA, the RAC, Brake, RoadPeace and Cycle Law Scotland among others.
The majority of UK police forces already use online video reporting.
Cycle Law Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s announcement of funding to develop a new national dashcam reporting portal for Police Scotland as good news for all responsible road users.
The news that Transport Scotland has allocated £300,000 to the National Dashcam Safety Portal follows a long campaign by the Cycling UK Scotland for the introduction of a system in Scotland which allows members of the public to upload footage of dangerous driving and other road crimes to the police.
Roads police officers can’t be everywhere on the roads but as the use of dashcams and helmet cams continues to grow, they can provide added eyes on the road collecting valuable evidence.
In March 2021, 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, the British Motorcyclists Federation, British Horse Society Scotland, 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.
With the increasing use of dashcams and cameras by cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders, the new system will allow footage of dangerous driving such as speeding and close passes to be easily submitted by the public, to be assessed and action taken, 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. Such systems currently 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 last year that 77% of submissions to their system had resulted in action being taken against drivers.
The new online portal, combined with a public awareness campaign will create a much-needed deterrence, improve road safety for vulnerable road users, and give more people the confidence to get out on bikes.