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Police In Call For Public Dashcam Help

In-Car Cameras May Help Police Forces Tackle Bad Driving


Police forces in England have appealed to motorists who have in-car cameras - so-called 'dashcams' - to help them spot and prosecute criminals.

Senior officers have said the cameras may help catch offenders in specific situations where the police themselves are not present.

Dashcams are cameras bought by motorists for as little as £70 to record whether any accident that occurs to the vehicle is the fault of its driver, or someone else. These can be useful in insurance and court claims. However, they can also provide extra eyes on the road for the benefit of traffic officers.

Deputy chief constable for Suffolk Paul Marshall, who heads up national efforts by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) to obtain digitally recorded and stored evidence of crime, said: "Increasing use is being made by the public of digital cameras to record evidence of offences which can be used by the police to support prosecutions.

"This is welcomed by Acpo, as quite often the only evidence available is an eye witness account, which is disputed by the alleged offender."

Neighbouring Norfolk, which shares intelligence and resources with Suffolk's police, has also backed the increased use of dashcams. 

Norwich resident Tony Sutton told the Norwich Evening News he has seen several incidents on his dashcam and supports the idea of the police making use of such footage.

Commenting: "We know the police cannot be everywhere," he noted that dashcams provide invaluable evidence like date and time stamps and also GPS readings on car speeds, which can then help prove if other motorists are going too fast. As a result, they can assist in securing convictions in court.

One reason for the popularity of dashcams is that motor insurance firms tend to offer lower premiums to drivers who have them.

Expert Opinion
Dashboard-mounted cameras are becoming more popular in the UK and the products can help the police and drivers when it comes to collisions and prosecuting drivers who are committing offences on the roads.

“It is important that emphasising the potential use of these devices does not detract from investing in effective front line road traffic policing, and that they are used safely and within the law, for example fiddling with the equipment whilst driving would be just as bad as driving whilst operating a hand held mobile phone. However, there is clearly a growing place for the evidence derived from these devices.

"Ultimately, the increased number of dashcams in operation in the UK may lead to more dangerous drivers being held responsible for their actions and even cause more people to think twice about bad driving if they are more mindful of being caught on film, leading to a fall in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads.”
Neil Whiteley, Partner

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