Dash cam usage has surged over the past few years after their safety benefits and insurance discounts were publicised and there are now thought to be 2.6 million units on the roads in Britain.
The relatively inexpensive devices can also be used as evidence in the case of an accident or to defend the driver in a crash-for-cash scam.
Now, drivers will be able to send the footage directly to the police using an online portal in a bid to improve safety on UK roads.
The National Dash Cam Safety Portal has been developed by the UK’s leading dash cam manufacturer Nextbase to target dangerous driving and try and clamp down offences in Britain.
It is a not-for-profit system that has been built to make this process easier for road users to submit footage to the police and also streamline the process making it notably faster, slashing processing time from over 14 hours to minutes.
All 39 English forces currently use different means of accepting and logging video and processes can vary from submission via social media or correspondence by email to having to provide hard copies of video clips, even burning these to DVD and sending them via post in extreme cases.
The problem with this is that a number of clips can be left unprocessed or ignored, which is why a number of police forces across Britain have adopted the use of this portal.
West Mercia Police is one of the pioneering forces that has been quick to adopt the Portal.
Superintendent Paul Moxley said, “While the benefits to motorists of this groundbreaking 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.
“The 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.
“In embracing this new technology, it enables the concerned road user to help us positively influence driver behaviour to make our roads a safer place for all users.”
Other forces adopting the platform include Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Cheshire Constabulary, Essex Police, Hampshire Constabulary, the Metropolitan Police Force, Norfolk Constabulary, North Yorkshire Police, Suffolk Constabulary, Surrey Police, Sussex Police, Thames Valley Police and Operation Snap in Wales.
The portal is not just limited to working with Nextbase dash cams and can be used with all devices.
Richard Browning, Director of Nextbase, commented, “The surge in Dash Cam usage in recent years is beneficial to motorists looking to protect themselves in the event of incidents on the roads, but it has meant an increase in the amount of footage sent to police forces.
“Until 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 such offences, ultimately making the roads safe for all users.”
The initiative is further supported by BRAKE, the nation’s leading road safety charity that is working with communities and organisations across the UK to stop the tragedy of road deaths and injuries, and Cycling UK, the nationwide cycling charity.
Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at BRAKE, said, “This is a fantastic initiative which couldn’t be more timely. The increasing popularity of Dash Cams is a huge positive for road safety.
There are around 2.6 million dash cams on the road in the UK
“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.
“We fully support this initiative and urge its swift adoption across the UK.”
Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns and Advocacy, Duncan Dollimore, said: “Public cuts have led to road police numbers plummeting in recent years by nearly 50 per cent, whilst casualties have increased among all road users.
“Given that reduction in resources, it’s crucial that efficient and standardised online reporting systems are introduced to facilitate the submission of dash, bike and helmet-cam footage of irresponsible road use.
“Our police cannot be everywhere at once, but with Nextbase’s Portal we have the next best thing – a one-stop shop for the collation of evidence our forces can rely upon. It can only lead to safer roads for everyone.”
To submit a video, users need only visit https://www.nextbase.com/dashcamportal. From here they can find and click through to the police force area where the incident occurred.
The National Dash Cam Safety Portal guides the user through a questionnaire that automatically generates a detailed witness statement upon conclusion of the submission, removing the need for police to visit a witness to take such a statement.
If that force already has a process which allows you to complete a witness statement online and upload your video, you will be redirected to the relevant website to do so.
In the case of a force not yet being signed up to the platform, the system will generate a witness statement and reference a code which can be taken directly to the relevant force for processing, where your footage can be viewed securely.
Once uploaded to a secure server, video footage is hosted by Egress Software Technologies, which boasts high-profile aerospace & defence and government clients, as well as the police themselves, amongst the organisations it supports.
Access to the platform is directly via Egress’s infrastructure, which is fully encrypted, and accredited to ISO certification 27001/9001.
The Portal therefore guarantees absolute safety and security of footage through a system that only allows the relevant police force to view individual files.
Dash cam users can now send footage directly to the police using online portal