Drivers to be prosecuted using dash cam evidence

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Reckless drivers could be prosecuted through ‘dash cam’ evidence sent in by members of the public in a new initiative by North Wales Police.

Operation Snap or #OpSnap has been launched in response to the ever increasing submissions of video and photographic evidence from people who have witnessed driving offences.

North Wales Police are encouraging members of the public to send in their footage by completing a newly-devised online form.

Chief Inspector Darren Wareing from North Wales Police’ Roads Policing Unit said: “If you have footage from a dash cam, your pedal cycle cam or any other source that you feel supports you as a witness to an alleged motoring offence, we want to hear from you.

“North Wales Police recognises that the vast majority of the public want to use the road network to get from A to B safely; and that they don’t wish to tolerate unnecessary risks that some are exposed to by the actions of others.

“Over recent months we have received footage capturing motoring offences including careless and dangerous driving, people on mobile telephones and people being distracted whilst using their smart devices behind the wheel.

“We also recognise that vulnerable road users – including cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders are now using cameras. We are seeing some awful very close passes and people pulling in and out of junctions putting cyclists in danger. We know that cyclists and horse riders come off worse when they are in collision with a car. Often the car driver has taken an unnecessary risk – or didn’t even see them! We will not tolerate this and wish to support all road users, including those who are most vulnerable, to have a safe journey.”

North Wales Police have developed a more streamlined back-office function to automate the process of accepting footage or photographs.

Operation SNAP has the full support of North Wales Police and the Crown Prosecution Service who all have one single aim – to make journeys on the roads of North Wales safer.

Justin Espie of the Crown Prosecution Service Cymru-Wales, said: “The Crown Prosecution Service is committed to working with North Wales Police to bring about improvements to the criminal justice process. Operation Snap builds on the already positive working relationship between police and prosecutors in North Wales.

“Good policing has always been reliant upon the support of the public, so any scheme that allows the public to submit quality evidence quickly and easily is worthy of support.

“The scheme takes advantage of the increased use and availability of dash cam footage, allowing the public to participate directly in improving road safety. For the most part, minor incidents will result in driver education courses, thereby updating and improving driver skills. In more serious cases, video footage is often the best evidence available to help secure a conviction.”

Once contact has been made with police an email containing instructions of how to upload any footage or photographs will be sent. A statement pro-forma will also be attached together with a guide. A Police Officer will then review the evidence and take a decision on any action that is appropriate.

Chief Inspector Wareing added: “We hope that Operation Snap will make a difference on the roads and that people will feel safer and reassured by our joint efforts to tackle bad driving across the region. Part of the campaign will see officers undertake uniformed and plain clothed cycling patrols across the region, and any footage obtained will be dealt with. “This is all about making the roads safer for all. Nothing more, nothing less. Those who are prepared to risk their lives and the lives of others are not welcome on our roads. If those people know there is a much bigger chance of being prosecuted and risk losing their licence then maybe, just maybe, they’ll think twice about not making that call, not answering that text, not update their status or stick a “like” to a dancing kitten whilst driving.

“Ideally we don’t want to prosecute anybody – we want people to go about their business unhindered and safely. We hope that Operation Snap deters people from taking the risk.

He added: “We are grateful for the public’s support in reporting incidents and supplying dash-cam footage to us so far – we’ve already seen people being prosecuted and have many cases still under investigation.

“Please help us make the roads safer for all.”