Police encourage public to help them catch dangerous drivers with video footage

·2-min read
Belfast, Northern Ireland. 24 Nov 2016 - An armed PSNI officer waves on traffic during a vehicle checkpoint.
Some police forces are already encouraging the public to send in footage. (Getty)

Police forces across the country have appealed for the public’s help in catch dangerous drivers by filming incidents.

Forces across the UK have successfully prosecuted hundreds of rule-breakers in recent months thanks to footage sent in by witnesses.

Avon and Somerset police said they secured 388 prosecutions against dangerous drivers and sent 273 warning letters with the public’s help, according to The Times.

Now other forces, including London’s Metropolitan Police, are actively encouraging road users to send in clips of dangerous driving when they encounter it.

Traffic is seen on the M25 motorway during the morning rush hour near Heathrow Airport in west of London on May 11, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on May 10 announced a phased plan to ease a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, with schools and shops to begin opening from June 1 -- as long as infection rates stay low. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
London's Met Police said they had secured hundreds of convictions thanks to the public. (Getty)

Detective Superintendent Andy Cox from the Met said: “The police can’t be everywhere all the time but the public can.

“If I’m a dangerous driver, I may look for the police car and the speed camera. If I don’t see them I might be minded to drive illegally, dangerously.

“If I’ve got the mindset that a member of the public might report me, I think that is a significant deterrent.

“This is not the public doing the police’s job. The public are part of the solution in every type of crime.”

Cox said the Met had only started asking the public to submit footage 18 months ago and already the force has received more than 3,000 videos in July, up from 5,000 for the whole of 2018.

However, he also warned that some forces to not have the facilities to process videos sent in to them.

Commander Kyle Gordon, the lead on road policing policy for police chiefs across the country, said he had started work “to consider how best to make this happen”.

It comes after Hollywood director Guy Ritchie was banned from driving for six months last week, after a cyclist filmed him texting while behind the wheel in London.

Cyclist Mike van Erp told the Met and sent in a video file, called “Man typing on his mobile phone whilst behind the wheel of his car”, to support the allegation.

Ritchie was given six points on his licence, taking the total to 15, and was ordered to pay a £666 fine, as well as £166 in prosecution costs and court fees.

Van Erp later told the Evening Standard he had begun filming dangerous driving incidents after his father was killed in a road accident.

“I had no idea it was him,” he said, “I pulled up beside him on my bicycle and told him he was using his mobile. He said he had stopped in traffic.

“Drivers should not be doing this and people like me serve as a deterrent.”