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Met Police say they want cyclists to wear cameras and report traffic offences

“The police can’t be everywhere all of the time – but the public can”

The Metropolitan Police has encouraged cyclists to wear cameras and submit footage of traffic offences. Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, who is responsible for road safety, said the growing prevalence of helmet cams could serve as a deterrent.

Last week film director Guy Ritchie lost his driving licence after being filmed texting at the wheel by cyclist Mike van Erp (Cycling Mikey).

A number of media outlets took an interesting tack with their coverage. Van Erp was branded a “lycra-clad vigilante” by the Mail, while the Mirror decided to focus on why he had “snitched”.

Auto Evolution headlined its story: “Vigilante cyclist rats texting drivers out to the police, keeps roads safe.”

This tone was predictably echoed on social media, where van Erp faced a veritable deluge of opprobrium for having the temerity to report a law-breaker to the police. (It’s worth pointing out that Ritchie himself immediately pleaded guilty to the charge.)

Tweeting in response to the Daily Mail story, Cox said: “The story here should be one of a driver penalised for using a phone whilst driving which greatly increases the chance of a fatal crash and the devastation that follows. Cycling Mikey should be praised for vast public service and considerable help and support to Road Safety.”

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, he went further.

“There’s a really significant surge in public reports of traffic offences via our portal at the Met,” he said.

“This is a game-changing moment for road safety. I encourage cyclists to wear a camera, we encourage it being referred to us and we will take action when we can. In terms of head cam and dashcam, in 2017 it was about 4,000 referrals, in 2018 it was about 5,000 but in 2019 it was 9,000 and this month alone we’ve had comfortably over 3,000.

“We know that word is out there that we’re getting far more referrals and I think that’s going to continue. We enforce about two thirds, so what you are getting is that deterrent effect. The police can’t be everywhere all of the time, but the public can. So drivers will be mindful.”

Top tips on submitting good quality camera evidence to police

Expanding on this, Cox said: “There is evidence that when people are more aware of offences on headcam then they are more safety conscious around cyclists.

“In the past, the dangerous driver in London looked for ‘are the police there, is there a speed camera?’ and if not drove a certain way.

“But now it’s dramatically changed — we’re up about eightfold on our referrals from 2017 — and if you are now a dangerous driver you have to be mindful of the person driving next to you.

“More people died on our roads nationally than from terrorism and homicide last year, and every year, so you recognise that there’s a real need for safer roads.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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61 comments

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cycle.london | 3 years ago
0 likes

And I thought the Old Bill didn't have a sense of humour......

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zeeridesbikes | 3 years ago
1 like

GMP have 'operation considerate' which allows you to report and upload footage. I had a close call with a driver back in March and after sending them the gopro footage he was sent on a driver improvement course to avoid points. 

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HoarseMann | 3 years ago
2 likes

Police are stretched. They don't respond to shoplifting unless it's over £200 that's nicked. They cannot enforce every traffic misdemeanour.

But they need to enforce some, so that drivers think there is at least a possibility of them being caught. It is this perception of the risk getting caught that acts as a deterrent.

So be selective in submitting footage that shows clear endangerment and with a good chance of providing the required level of evidence for a conviction. Then be prepared to engage with the process fully, learning the steps the police should be taking and making sure they have done so. If they don't follow their own process, then put in a complaint.

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ktache replied to HoarseMann | 3 years ago
4 likes

If at least 2 shopworkers were being killed by shoplifters every week one might hope that they would be taking a little more notice of the low level stealing.

Or indeed 5 members of the general public every day...

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Rome73 | 3 years ago
1 like

The Met Police don't always act (or even reply) to the footage I've submitted. I get a reference number and then nothing - despite repeated emails for updates. 

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Velo-drone replied to Rome73 | 3 years ago
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I've never had this experience. They don't provide updates by default but whenever I've sent a polite email with ref no.s asking what the outcome was they've always obliged.

That said I don't tend to pester for individual updates every week or anything, I tend to wait a few months to give time for the system to work through and then ask for updates on a bunch of referrals at the same time.

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Gary's bike channel | 3 years ago
2 likes

i hate going anywhere without a camera running. I've even worn my drift into a shop whilst out walking. I've got a dashcam from wilko, 30 quid, all i do is charge the usb power bank sellotaped to it, plug it in, cam comes on and records for 5/6 hours. No buttons to push. Its a dashcam so records automaticlally as soon as power goes to it. I've also got a kaiser bass on my backpack, used for motorbike rides and cycle rides. Ive got a drift ghost on my baseball cap for cycling, a kaiser bass x2 on my motorbike helmet and another kaiser bass x2 spare. I woulnt call cameras expensive. 50 quid for the camera, micro sd and a powerbank all in. so my ride to work today, kaiser bass on the helmet, and the chest cam on my back pack. If one fails youve got the chance of the second. Best thing with a dashcam is they come with the chunk usb cable type, not the micro, so its less likely to bend or break when you plug cables in and out of it a lot.

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Judge dreadful | 3 years ago
2 likes

I've found that pointing to my lid and saying "camera" has a surprising effect. Whether or not there's a camera there. 

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LetsBePartOfThe... | 3 years ago
1 like

We also shouldn't underestimate the deterrent effect.

Some days I'm out cycling and I think, "oh this is lovely, everyone coming up behind me is driving calmly and is giving me a wide overtake today"

And then I realise it's because I have my GoPros on. I mount them very visibly to the sides of my helmet ( yep I know not good in an impact to the head )

So sitting at home this evening I'm wondering why I don't wear them every day. TBH it's the faff of constantly charging them, or running them on usb cable. And the keeping on top of the admin of clearing space.  
Maybe first base is to make a self-commitment to always wear them even if battery is flat. Perhaps the benefit comes from helping to keep nearby traffic calm. I wonder if every cyclist and motorist did have visible cameras, whether the roads would suddenly become so much calmer that we wouldn't have anything much to actually record or submit. And perhaps in that situation the cases that do get submitted would be followed through because they would be a lot rarer.

 

 

 

 

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Triblokerich | 3 years ago
3 likes

I have no problem with Essex Police. It takes around 10 minutes to report a potential issue and then you're invited a day or two later to submit the footage. Every one I've reported has led to a driver awareness course for the culprit although sometimes I've thought the driver has got off lightly.

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Hirsute replied to Triblokerich | 3 years ago
1 like

You don't need to wait to submit footage, you submit it as soon as you have your URN which you get when you submit the report.

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Durin90 replied to Triblokerich | 3 years ago
1 like

Wow, that's pretty amazing. I sent a couple of reports to Essex police - all I got is standard "we don't share the outcome". When I queried that I was told that "driver could have moved a bit further but that evidence will not stand in court".
Pretty amazing you get some result and that you get to know it.

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schlepcycling | 3 years ago
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I've used the Nextbase portal https://www.nextbase.com/en-gb/national-dash-cam-safety-portal/ to submit footage from my commute to both TVP and The Met with mixed results.  TVP have never sent a NIP all they ever send is a letter to the registered keeper reminding them of their responsibilities when over taking a cyclist, although I've had a few NIPs sent by The Met 

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wtjs replied to schlepcycling | 3 years ago
3 likes

Pfff! TVP and the Met are offence-ignoring amateurs! They should join The Professionals- Lancashire simply refuses to join the Nextbase portal, and generally ignores offences against cyclists no matter how much and how good the evidence is. Hitting a cyclist (me, twice), illegally crossing double and single unbroken white lines, illegal use of handheld mobile phone while driving, crashing through red lights at speed up to 2 seconds after they turned red- all of these are nothing to LC. This is why the fashionable encouragement of cycling by the government is worthless, and therefore won't work!

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Hirsute replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
2 likes

I think for your own wellbeing, you need to set this aside for a bit.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to schlepcycling | 3 years ago
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I use that portal for West Midlands Police. Their MO is to only contact you if it goes to court. They don't even contact you to state a NIP or anything has been sent out.

Now being as I have submitted punishment passes at speed, two where only my fast reactions stopped me coming off with one of me brushing a wing mirror as a car cut into my lane to beat the traffic for 20 yards, one where someone's passenger attempted to push me off (at the same time and area where several Cyclists actually did get pushed off as reported by Road CC) and one where a cement lorry decided to cut across me when he wanted to leave an island, I actually suspect that nothing has ever gone to court and no letters have ever been sent out. 

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mitsky | 3 years ago
3 likes

Whilst I totally welcome safer roads, I guess the cynic in me laments the fact that due to human nature it is "the deterent effect" of not wanting to be prosecuted/get points/fines/lose their licence that would motivate people to be safer drivers. Rather than doing it because it should be the norm.

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kt26 | 3 years ago
2 likes

It's good that some police forces are starting to take road safety more seriously - however camera's aren't cheap, so expecting those more likely to be victims to pay up to be protected just doesn't seem right.

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wtjs | 3 years ago
2 likes

Ho!Ho! to the tips about 'submitting good quality images to the police'. That's the last thing they want! I have been sending in Grade A indisputable stuff to them, so the response is almost invariably to not respond at all. When I film red-light crashing, they get the highly reliable 50 FPS timing displayed on the images, time and date, amber on time, red on time, vehicle stop line crossing time, crystal clear number plate- the lot, the day after the offence. The rather pathetic trick then is to ignore it for 2+ weeks and then say 'too late to process'.

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mitsky replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
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Thats interesting. They've only rejected two of mine. One because I wasn't facing the driver's direction so couldn't see the light even though the junction was symmetrical and mine was red, the other because they argued the driver was going too fast to stop safely.

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IanGlasgow replied to mitsky | 3 years ago
2 likes

There's something wrong when the police WON'T take action because "the driver was going too fast to stop safely."

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Fishpastesarnie | 3 years ago
1 like

In Sussex we have 'Operation Crackdown' where you send in your video evidence and then they decide whether this should be handed on to the police for follow up. 

However in most cases it would appear they NFA or do no more than send a letter and that's it. Nothing happens. 

If you look at their follow up figures no more than about 1 or 2 percent have any further action taken. Not fit for purpose.

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mitsky replied to Fishpastesarnie | 3 years ago
2 likes

Point them towards the Met (and this article) and say "Why can't you do this?"

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squired | 3 years ago
1 like

First and foremost, a camera could provide vital evidence if you are ever involved in an accident.  I know my brother wished he'd had a camera after a driver who left him with a fractured spine (and admitted it was his fault) was subsequently trying to get out of paying for the damages.

I've submitted a few videos to the police over the years.  Sometimes you hear something, sometimes you don't.  Last summer I submitted one of a taxi speeding through a red light.  Six months later I got a really badly written email, that I initially thought must be a scam, from a guy in the police asking if I'd be willing to go to court because the driver was contesting it.  I said yes and never heard anything again.  So bear in mind the fact that you might not hear anything or get mixed communication if you do your civic duty.

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wtjs replied to squired | 3 years ago
1 like

Six months later I got a really badly written email, that I initially thought must be a scam, from a guy in the police asking if I'd be willing to go to court because the driver was contesting it. I said yes and never heard anything again.

That's a standard police tactic in Lancashire, where they pretend there's going to be a prosecution, you agree, send the video, go into the station to take hours making a statement, receive a letter saying the case is going to court and you never hear anything further. They're just trying to wear down people who annoy them by reporting offences

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TheBillder replied to wtjs | 3 years ago
2 likes

Might it be that once you have done your bit, the criminal is told that there is video and a witness prepared to testify, then suddenly they decide they might have done something wrong and plead Guilty?

It's pretty common across the criminal spectrum to plead Not Guilty and then see if the witnesses show up on the morning of the trial. If they do, change plea ASAP and get the sentence reduction.

I don't understand why the justice system can't provide outcome information to everyone involved - perhaps too much work or a misreading of gdpr or something.

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ktache replied to TheBillder | 3 years ago
2 likes

The police, for some reason, believe that the recoding cyclist is merely a witness and never a victim.

 

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mitsky replied to squired | 3 years ago
1 like

Was this to the Met police? I usually have a response saying that they will take it forward or "no further action". These days it is like 70-80% positive. If NFA, I make the clip public. Though I usually have to chase them for subsequent results on the others.

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Velo-drone replied to squired | 3 years ago
1 like

The court system in genea is underfunded, under resourced and reliant on extremely clunky bureaucracy and systems. This is why driver improvement courses are such a good thing, because it avoids having to go through the court system.

The one case of mine that actually went to court, despite front and rear video footage of him cutting across the lane and near swiping me off the bike, the cabbie was acquitted by the magistrate on the basis that because he had not *actually* hit me, then it was not a dangerous pass, and because I had carried on to my destination, my journey had not been inconvenienced ... yes, really ...

I was only informed the day before the trial that it was happening. Fortunately I was able to attend. The court security refused to let me bring the Brompton into the building as I might have been concealing a bomb or a knife in it (yes, really ..)

When I asked if they could inform reception that I would be delayed as I would have to go and find somewhere to buy a padlock, their response was to physically manhandle me off the frontage of the building.

In the event, the court was running so late it didn't matter. They also had no record that I had been called as a witness and so weren't expecting me.

The CPS lawyer was barely qualified and extremely nervous and clearly wasn't familiar with the file in the five mins he had talking to me before going in.

The IT in the court was antiquated and struggled to play the videos. Also because I had followed the guidance to include 2 mins before and after the incident, the magistrate became clearly bored and impatient waiting for it to get to the relevant place (I now submit only the relevant section for this reason, and note that the 2 mins before and after has been retained and is available on request)

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Durin90 | 3 years ago
2 likes

Meanwhile other forces are not giving a single poo about the reports. 

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