A new online portal has been created to make it easier for motorists to share footage of dangerous or illegal driving with police.
Launched this month the National Dash Cam Safety Portal aims to streamline the process of evidence submissions by linking drivers directly to police.
Until now, every police force in the UK has had its own means of accepting and logging video and processes can vary from submission via social media or email to having to provide hard copies of video clips, even burning these to DVD and sending them via post in extreme cases. This confused array of methods often results in clips being ignored and ultimately unprocessed.
The portal aims to simplify the process by providing a central site where drivers can upload their footage and fill out a witness statement and then send it to the relevant police force.
The secure site, created by dash cam manufacturer Nextbase has been given the backing of many of the UKâ€™s police forces as well as safety campaigners.
West Mercia Police is one of the forces that has adopted the portal. Superintendent Paul Moxley said: â€œWhile the benefits to motorists of this portal are clear, this convenience extends to police forces, since a process which previously took hours can now be reduced to a matter of minutes.
â€œThe key in making this work for us has been determining a way of providing footage in an accessible format, whilst the creation of a witness statement is also integral to ensuring the process is as efficient as possible.â€
Several English police forces have already signed up to use the portal and Nextbase is working with others as well as holding discussions with forces in Scotland and Northern Ireland to extend its reach right the way across the UK.
For forces that have adopted the portal, users can upload their footage and witness statement directly while for others that have their own online submission system it will direct users there.
Richard Browning, director of Nextbase, commented: â€œThe surge in dash cam usage in recent years is beneficial to motorists but it has meant an increase in the amount of footage sent to police forces.
â€œUntil now forces have not had the means to process this footage so the National Dash Cam Safety Portal has been developed with this in mind. The portal allows all road users to submit footage captured on devices such as dash cams, which will enable the police to reduce offences, ultimately making the roads safe for all users.â€
Read more:Â How to spot a crash-for-cash scam
The initiative is supported by road safety charity Brake. Its director of campaigns, Joshua Harris, said: â€œThis is a fantastic initiative. The increasing popularity of dash cams is a huge positive for road safety. However, with more drivers than ever seeking to report illegal behaviour the burden on the police has increased. This portal is an elegant solution which enables the police to process this vital data without wasting their scarce resources.”
Cycling UKâ€™s head of campaigns and advocacy, Duncan Dollimore, added: â€œPublic cuts have led to road police numbers plummeting in recent years by nearly 50 per cent, whilst casualties have increased among all road users.
â€œGiven that reduction in resources, itâ€™s crucial that efficient and standardised online reporting systems are introduced. Our police cannot be everywhere at once, but with Nextbaseâ€™s pPortal we have the next best thing.â€