West Midlands Police has thanked cyclists and drivers for submitting 640 videos of alleged dangerous or careless driving in September, with "action taken against hundreds of careless and dangerous drivers thanks to your footage".
The force encouraged road users to continue to tackle road danger by submitting evidence, stressing that officers "can't be everywhere all the time" and that third-party reporting will make "motorists think twice about the standard of their driving, and that could well save lives".
In September, the force received 640 submissions through its online reporting portal, with 416 cases (65 per cent) resulting in "action", a broad term stretching from warning letters to court appearances and points and fines.
In total, 55 drivers (nine per cent) were ordered to appear at court in relation to driving seen in submitted footage, while 122 (19 per cent) were handed fixed-penalty notices.
The numbers come at the end of a summer which began with West Midlands Police admitting that it needed to review how reports were managed after reporting by this website, supported by an FOI request by Chris Smith, found that of 286 reports of careless, inconsiderate, or dangerous driving around cyclists considered by West Midlands Police in 2022, only one resulted in a prosecution.
At the time, the force said it needed to adapt to the "50 per cent increase in third-party reporting" it had experienced, with each report taking an average of 60 minutes to be assessed. 213 of the submissions in 2022 resulted in no further action, while 69 were offered a National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) course as an alternative to prosecution.
The FOI request also showed that 5,551 submissions of video evidence relating to potential driving offences were received by West Midlands Police in 2022, over 2,000 more than the number submitted in 2020, and almost 1,800 more than in 2021.
Noting the increase in numbers this year, West Midlands Police said the 640 submissions received in September was a "big rise" on the 557 from August and 325 in July, demand met by the force "increasing the resources in the Traffic Investigations Unit" responsible for processing third-party footage.
The force also released a video containing examples of real-world submissions that warranted action, one clip showing a close pass of cyclists that earned a driver three penalty points and a fine of £100, another captured by a cyclist showing a driver run a red light, an incident treated with the same punishment.
People are sick of reckless driving in their communities and now there’s thousands more eyes + ears to help combat it via dash or helmet cam reporting.
— Adam Tranter (@adamtranter) October 21, 2023
Tanya Johnson, the head of the police-led prosecution team, thanked the public for the "great response to the bolstering of the team" and said "road users who send us footage say they're pleased with the results and the feedback given".
"We've got a vital role to play in keeping the roads safe, but we can't be everywhere all the time," she said. "That's why it’s great that we're getting so many clips in. In more than 140 cases last month, we didn't need to issue points, fines or court action, but offered education and advice to drivers.
"That will make those motorists think twice about the standard of their driving, and that could well save lives. Of the submissions that our team wasn't able to act on, many were because they didn't actually include video evidence, they showed crimes which needed to be investigated separately, or they showed incidents outside the West Midlands Police area. So I want people to have confidence that we will act in every case that we can."
West Midlands Walking and Cycling Commissioner Adam Tranter said it was "reassuring" to see the increase in submissions being met with more police action.
"I'm a big believer that the portal can be a strong force for good in road safety; people are sick of reckless and bad driving in their communities and now there's thousands more eyes and ears supporting our mission to make our roads safer," he said.
After three cyclists and pedestrians lost their lives on Birmingham's roads in May, West Midlands Police announced a "relentless enforcement of the rules of the road" in a crackdown on dangerous driving.
In the aftermath of the fatalities, Tranter urged authorities to "turn the tide on aggressive driving in Birmingham".
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.