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Police chiefs call on forces across England & Wales to adopt consistent approach to video evidence submitted by public

NPCC sets out seven principles advising how footage should be processed, including ending 'postcode lottery'...

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has set out recommendations for how police forces across England and Wales should process video evidence submitted by the public, with the aim of creating “a consistent level of service and user experience across the country.” 

As submissions to our Near Miss of the Day series highlight, there is something of a ‘postcode lottery’ in operation at the moment, with different forces adopting varying approaches to how they handle video evidence of poor driving, including footage submitted by cyclists.

> Near Miss of the Day

While many police forces actively encourage submission of video footage to help enforce the law against drivers who endanger others,  some road.cc readers have told us that they have given up sending videos to their local police forces since based on past experience, they do not feel it will be taken seriously.

Others have found that even where their footage has been acted on, they are not told what specific action has been taken against the motorist.

In its guidelines, shared by Twitter user @Broadsword999, the NPCC says that footage from dashcams and action cameras can act as a tool to reduce road danger and sets out seven underlying principles for how a system to handle such submissions should operate.

The first of those concerns technology, with the NPCC saying that “members of the public should be able to submit video footage via an easy to find and navigate online platform,” and that “The upload process should be simple and able to support increasing file sizes.”

It also says that the “public-facing part of the system should be as consistent as possible nationally,” and that the way footage is processed should be automated as far as possible “to reduce staff workload and allow staff to interact with the public in a meaningful manner.”

The next area addressed is social media, where forces are advised to look at footage posted there and brought to their attention “on a case by case basis,” and that “where possible, the original footage should be secured and the social media post removed, so as not to undermine a potential prosecution case.”

That latter point also extends to encouraging people who have shared footage with the police, and who have also posted it online to remove their posts, with the NPCC saying that “An assessment should be made as to whether the initial or continued social media post undermines any potential prosecution case to the point where proceeding with the formal submission needs to be discontinued.”

As a result, if you do have footage you intend to submit to the police, you’d be best advised to do that and let their investigation (and any subsequent action) run its course before sharing it online, including by submitting it to road.cc for our Near Miss of the Day series, to avoid police rejecting the submissions on those grounds.

The third principle, and the most extensive one, relates to contact with the public and victim focus, stating aty the outset that “Information on where to find the submission system should be easily available and instructions on its use should be clear and easy to follow.”

It goes on to say that “Information, updates and feedback provided to submitters should be as consistent as possible across the country, thereby providing a constant level of service to the public and reducing complaints relating to inconsistencies between force areas” – the ‘postcode lottery’ we referred to above.

The NPCC says that “Members of the public should receive confirmation of a successful submission,” and “should be provided with a brief result with regards to their submission,” as well as being “kept up to date on, and supported through, any court process arising out of their submission.”

It adds that “Outcome statistics should be published in the public domain.”

Other principles outlined by the NPCC relate to off-duty police officers and members of partner agencies, other content, best practice sharing, and resourcing – with forces advised that “Interaction with the public must not be compromised.”

> 10 tips for submitting good quality camera evidence to police

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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5 comments

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Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

“The upload process should be simple and able to support increasing file sizes.”

Of course. They should adopt the best practice from amongst the prevailing set ups.

It also says that the “public-facing part of the system should be as consistent as possible nationally,”

And there's the rub - once they are all locked into the prescribed system none has the ability to innovate, because consistency must be preserved, and anyway since they are no longer mandated to change the system those positions were made redundant when all subscribed to the whole.

So the system becomes ossified, then fossilised. But hey, no "postcode lottery".

Avatar
0-0 | 2 years ago
3 likes

Corrected headline:
Police chiefs call on forces across England & Wales to give a fuck about video evidence submitted by public.

What would be a good idea for Road CC to do, would be to compile all the various online forms for reporting incidents, from all the Police forces from across the country.

I'll start you off, with the West Yorkshire Police:
https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/SaferRoadsSubmissions

Avatar
eburtthebike | 2 years ago
1 like

Frankly, it's astonishing that there isn't a national policy already, but as we know, the government's approach to road safety is to blame the victims, promise them action but instead give them a revised HC.

One of the first thing the police do in many crime scenarios is to check whether the site is covered by cctv, so that the video can be used as evidence.  Somehow that's different when the video is submitted by the public and the police don't have to find it themselves.

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HoarseMann | 2 years ago
5 likes

This is good news. They've been slow to capitalise on the proliferation of dashcams and the change in 2013 to enable FPN's to be issued for careless driving.

I'd still like to see a separate agency set up to manage this, a single IT system and process. Then you'd definately end the postcode lottery.

Avatar
TriTaxMan | 2 years ago
3 likes

Whilst this is a worthwhile stance for the NPCC to be taking the fact that courts seem to be willing to summarily dismiss video evidence in the face of even the most clear cut cases without some form of corroborating evidence it is in essence pi$$ing into the wind.... a statement to placate the cycling bodies but won't do anything to help drivers be convicted

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