The police want more people to use dashcams to report illegal driving and riding

The UK police are encouraging road users to make use of dashcams, which have seen increasing use over the past five years.

The police want more people to use dashcams to report illegal driving and riding

POLICE in the UK are encouraging both drivers and motorcyclists to make use of dashcams while driving and riding. 

Dashcams have risen to prominence over the last few years, and the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF) reports that, since 2017, more than 60,000 road users have sent dashcam footage to the police. Of those 60,000 cases that have involved the reception of dashcam footage by the police, the BMF reports that one third have been actioned by the police. 

The increased use of dashboard and helmet cameras in the UK has seen a rise in the amount of footage being sent to the police for evidence. This has also been facilitated by the National Dashcam Safety Portal (NDCSP), which, the BMF says, “which provides a single online gateway to uploading to any police force in the country.”

There are now 43 police forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland that accept dashcam footage for evidence, with Lincolnshire’s police force recently taking the step. 

“A system to effectively process evidence of road traffic offences and poor driving will assist greatly in dealing with poor driver behaviour that can and does lead to collisions, serious injury and death on the roads of Lincolnshire,” said Nikki Mayo, the Head of Central Operations at Lincolnshire Police. 

The BMF Chair, Jim Freeman, said, “The use of dashcam evidence has been variable across different forces, there have been instances reported to the BMF of recordings of serious incidents, involving serious injuries to riders, with GPS locators and third-party recordings being ignored, for unstated reasons, by local accident investigators.”

“Any attempt to co-ordinate and standardise the way this is done, has to be a good idea. That Lincolnshire is joining the ranks, that’s a positive step. In a county with many rural roads, where traffic enforcement is thinly stretched, this would seem to be especially important,” Freeman added.

Of course, while there are obvious safety benefits to dashcams, and while they can be benefits to police enforcement if people use them, there is also a fear of misuse. 

Car drivers are often oblivious to the norms of motorcycling. Biking is a niche, and mostly motorcyclists are people with a passion for motorcycles, while a large number of people who drive do not share that same passion for their car. And yet they are the majority. 

As the minority on the roads, motorcyclists are somewhat forced into acknowledging the behaviours and norms of the majority, in this case car drivers. But, the opposite is not true. 

That means that many car drivers are not familiar with many norms of riding, such as undertaking and filtering. From the perspective of a car driver, these things can look sketchy, which could lead to a concerned driver with a dashcam sending that footage to the police. 

Overall, dashcams can be a positive thing, but there is also the potential for a negative impact for bikers. Only time will tell the effect of the encouragement of dashcams by the police on motorcyclists, but let’s hope they will be used in the correct way.