The growth of video evidence of road offences being provided by drivers and cyclists has led Cheshire Police to issue guidance on what members of the public should do with it.
Chester Cycling Campaign is supporting the recent introduction of a new portal on the police website that allows road users to upload video evidence of possible road traffic offences.
Cheshire Police recognise how vulnerable cyclists can feel on the road and are keen to welcome footage from them.
The portal was one of the demonstrations at the recent Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioners Road Safety Conference held at the police HQ in Winsford.
With an increasing number of motorists using dashcams and cyclists wearing helmet cams, there are more people than ever capturing evidence of people committing traffic offences.
As a result of this, Cheshire Police have been keen to develop a process in response to the increased submission of video and photographic evidence of incidents witnessed by its communities on our roads.
Road policing unit education officer PC Eoin Anderson said: “Previously, evidence of these incidents has come into us in a variety of different ways and we are pleased to have developed a simpler process for the public to be able to report them.
“But we can only do a good job if the evidence can prove an offence in a court of law. We will need a witness statement for each submission that supports the video/photographic evidence and those providing video evidence must be prepared to attend court if necessary.”
“This is a very positive step forward,” said Craig Steeland of the Chester Cycling Campaign.
“Most road users are courteous and considerate to each other, but as a cyclist you do feel very vulnerable at times when motor vehicles do not give you enough space on the road, or worse still are unnecessarily threatening and act dangerously.
“The Chester Cycling Campaign’s main objective is to make cycling increasingly accessible for all potential cyclists in the Chester area and this can only be achieved when cyclists of all ages and capability feel safe on our roads.”
Superintendent of task force and strategic road policing Martin Cleworth said: “In order for the video footage to be used in evidence it must be preserved in its original recorded state.
“It should not be edited or altered in any way. If it’s on a memory card, put it to one side and keep it safe. This is the original footage and it may be needed in the future. This is your evidence and your responsibility.”
The details provided via the web portal will go to a police officer who will evaluate the submission and keep the provider updated on progress with the incident. However the police cannot progress any offences without a formal statement.
A pro-forma dashcam submission form is readily available on the police website together with a self-help guide and a sample statement.
Incidents must be reported with the submitted video footage and formal statement within 72 hours of the date of the incident.
The Cheshire Police website link is https://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/roads-and-vehicle-safety/submit-dashcam-footage/
Any information provided via the police website will be treated in strict confidence.
The information provided will be placed on police systems and protected by the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.