Ever thought of buying a dash camera for your car? More than three million UK drivers have already installed one of the dashboard-mounted devices. And the cameras have been such a hit with car owners that police are increasingly using the footage people send to them for making convictions.
In July 2018, the National Dash camera Safety Portal (NDSP) was set up. Since then, drivers, motorbikers and cyclists have uploaded more than 10,000 clips of footage. Around half of these have resulted in the police making convictions.
What is the NDSP?
Leading dash cam producer Nextbase set up the NDSP. It is a dash camera portal website that enables drivers to upload the footage of dangerous driving from their dash cameras. Nextbase says 28 of the UK’s 39 police forces have signed up to the NDSP. This enables them to receive the footage via a secure, encrypted, police-approved link. Nextbase doesn’t have any access to the contents of the footage. The NDSP isn’t just available to owners of Nextbase cameras; footage from any camera or mobile device can be uploaded.
Is this the same thing as Operation Snap?
The NDSP and Operation Snap are essentially the same thing covered with a different wrapper. Operation Snap is a dash camera portal for individual police forces committed to investigating road traffic offences that dash cams capture. In many cases, the NDSP points drivers to a force’s Operation Snap web page. The offences police investigate include dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention, careless driving, using a hand-held mobile phone, not wearing a seat belt, jumping red lights and crossing solid white lines to overtake.
How did these schemes come about?
With the increasing popularity of dash cameras, police started receiving unsolicited snaps of bad driving. Initially they could only use the clips like eye-witness accounts. This meant officers would have to conduct interviews and fill out reams of paperwork. As this was so time consuming they rarely bothered pursuing cases.
Then in 2016, police in North Wales realised they could handle the footage in the same way they used pictures from their traffic cameras. Their Operation Snap pilot was so successful, the Department for Transport rolled it out nationally.
How are drivers prosecuted?
Police watch the videos to decide if an offence has been committed and how severe it is. Depending on its seriousness, police send drivers a warning letter, encourage them to go on retraining courses, send fixed penalty fines or prosecute them in court. As with a speeding ticket, if drivers don’t want to accept the fixed penalty, they can argue it in court.
How do you submit footage?
You either go to the NDSP website or your local constabulary’s Operation Snap page. You must fill out personal details and information about the alleged offence before you upload the footage. A possible prosecution may be affected if the footage has already been shown on social media. If police proceed with your evidence, you’ll need to make an official statement. You may have to attend court, although according to Nextbase only 1-2 per cent of cases end up in court.
Should you buy a dash cam?
There are a number of very compelling reasons to invest in a dash cam. Decent ones may cost a couple of hundred pounds but the devices do give you the peace of mind of knowing there’s an impartial witness in the car.
A dash cam could protect you against crash for cash scams where other drivers cause accidents to make expensive and hard-to-prove personal injury claims. It could also save you from paying out on an expensive insurance claim if it proves someone else is responsible for an accident. And it may save your no-claims discount.
If you’re searching for a dash cam, check out a wide range at the Green Flag Shop.