Dealing with Your Dash Cam Footage
You may have seen them on cars, you may have one yourself, or you may have even had an offer for cheaper insurance if you install one on your dashboard. dash cams are becoming much more popular on not just commercial vehicles but also on private cars, and one of the main reasons is that with reduced policing for traffic and road crimes, drivers need to be more wary and take better care of their own safety. A dash cam can protect you from liability and many insurance providers offer insurance discounts for those that have them installed.
But if you do need to use the actual footage from your dash cam, what exactly should you do with it? The first step is to determine whether or not the footage should be sent; if you catch film of someone not using their indicator, it’s probably not worth sending it in. However, if you witness an accident, someone bump a parked car, or even a hit and run, you should really know how to access the footage and know how to send it on.
How it Works
If you witness dangerous or reckless driving, the police are very happy to accept your footage. In fact, police authorities in Wales are actively canvassing for footage. A witness will send the film (usually electronically), the police will view it to check if a crime has been committed and if so, they will send an NIP (notice of intended prosecution) and the process begins.
“Operation Snap or #OpSnap is launched in response to the ever increasing submission of video and photographic evidence from people who have witnessed driving offences.”
North Wales Chief Inspector Darren Wareing, said that “If you have footage from a dash cam, your pedal cycle cam or any other source that you feel supports you as a witness to an alleged motoring offence, we want to hear from you.”
Here is footage taken with a Dash Cam that led to a successful prosecution for dangerous driving:
How to Submit Your Dash Cam Footage To The Police?
Depending on which UK police authority you live with, the process for submitting dash cam footage can vary greatly. There are however some key factors that apply to the vast majority of authorities:
- Road incidents should be reported via 101 (999 should only be used in an emergency). Don’t take footage directly to the police station as the officers on duty are unlikely to be the right department or have access to tech to watch your footage. Follow the proper channels.
- Provide the police with whole, unedited, footage of your journey, not just the short time in which the incident occurred. If you have edited the footage in any way, it will likely not be admissible.
- Don’t post the footage on social media. If you put the film out onto the web, it may affect a court’s ability to make a successful prosecution.
- You will be required to make a statement. It will likely not be a long statement, just information on where the footage was recorded and information about the actual Dash Cam. In some more serious cases (usually involving injury), you may be required to attend court and present evidence.
- Be aware that as the police will be reviewing the full footage, try not to swear or make too much noise or distractions, especially if you end up in a position of actually communicating with the offender: you are on camera, too.
The Technical Aspects
Most dash cams come with a removable SD card (usually 32GB), that you can hand directly to the police. If you do this however, the police will likely want to hang on to your card until they get it copied. There are other methods that you could use.
A 32GB SD card will often take about seven hours of footage, you might want to put the SD card into your computer, take the relevant file and copy it directly to a DVD or a USB that will make it easier for the police officer to access.
Upload the footage directly to your Smartphone. From here, you can easily show the police officer in charge; if they would like a copy of it, you can then send it via messaging, email or upload.
There has been quite a bit of talk about dash cam Vigilantes, but the police are actually asking for this footage. Their lack of staffing and funds means they have neither the time nor resources to actively deal with many road issues. You being a conscientious citizen is definitely a benefit and the police authorities will be grateful to get dangerous drivers off the road.