North Wales Police Force using dashcams to catch dangerous drivers
People who own a dashcam will know just how useful they can be. Originally popularised for the key evidence they provide in fraudulent insurance claims, and deciding who was at fault in the event of an accident, there are now hundreds of thousands of dashcam/helmetcam videos uploaded every day. Usually these are used to showcase bad drivers and showcase acts of particularly violent road-rage, but today they are helping North Wales police force to bring dangerous drivers to justice.
North Wales Police launched Operation Snap last October in a bid to alleviate the pressure on the police forces caused by tightened budgets and dwindling numbers of traffic officers. Encouraging drivers that are users of mounted cameras on the road to send in their clips, it has already lead to 80 penalties being issued out of the 100 clips that drivers have uploaded through the North Wales Police website.
The use of public footage in traffic cases is definitely not a new thing in the police force, but in recent years as the use of car-mounted cameras have become more and more popular, North Wales police were struggling to vet the footage due to their limited resources. It was calculated that before adopting the new process, it took 15 hours of police time to charge offenders because they had to treat public footage like eyewitness accounts, leading to interviews and a mountain of paperwork.
However, now they are treating public footage similarly to speed cameras – in that they are used as the only evidence needed to issue a speeding fine – it only takes a mere 15 minutes to review the footage, investigate the driver and then issue a driving penalty notice that the offender can then accept, or dispute in court. According to AutoExpress, there have been two attempts to appeal out of the 80 penalties issued, both of which have failed.
Undoubtedly, Operation Snap is acting as a huge help to the North Wales police. They have fallen victim to the same national trend that has seen 1,437 less traffic police on the roads than in 2010 as reported by the Home Office, with them losing 20% of their traffic force in that period.
Sergeant John Roberts outlined the aims of Operation Snap by saying; ‘Operation Snap isn’t about catching people; it’s about changing behaviour and hopefully acting as a deterrent against bad driving. If drivers think twice before overtaking on double lines because they think they might be reported, that makes the roads a safer place.’