I was pleased to attend the launch of Operation Snap in Cardiff on December 19th. It has significant implications for traffic law enforcement and the involvement of the public in reporting bad driving to the police.
Insp Steve Davies, Duncan Dollimore (Cycling UK),Asst Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan, Chair RDRF, Theresa Healy (GoSafe)
Here is an abridged version the Press Release which gives a good indication of what is involved:
Nowhere for careless and dangerous drivers to hide as Operation Snap launches Wales-wide
Motorists can now contribute to help Wales’ police forces keep roads safe by putting digital footage from dash cams and other devices to good use. (Cyclists can also submit helmet-cam or light/camera footage).
As part of Operation Snap, members of the public throughout Wales can submit footage and images showing traffic offences being committed – from driving dangerously or carelessly to contravening solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving or ignoring traffic lights.
The joint initiative between the four Welsh police forces, GoSafe and the Crown Prosecution Service, has attracted support from Cycling UK and The British Horse Society as well as a number of families who have lost loved ones as the result of a road traffic offence.
South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable, Jeremy Vaughan, said: “Operation Snap enables people to submit footage of motoring offences to all Welsh police forces, allowing us take action, change attitudes and deal with those who compromise all our safety on our roads.
“Footage can now be submitted…in a very simple and streamlined process. This provides us with the ability target those who drive dangerously and reduce the number of fatal or serious road related accidents that occur on our roads.
Operation Snap is for all roads users – from pedestrians to cyclists, motorcyclists, horse riders and drivers of all vehicles. If you have recorded anyone driving dangerously, then you can help us by submitting your footage online. By supporting this operation you are reminding those that drive dangerously on Wales’ roads that there is nowhere to hide.”
Teresa Healy, Partnership Manager at GoSafe, added: “Operation Snap is the culmination of partners working together to respond to community needs; to deliver a solution which allows road users and the wider community to actively contribute to road safety. This operation also allows us to protect vulnerable road users, who would not otherwise have a means to submit their footage easily to the police. Supported by the Crown Prosecution Service, this operation acts as a deterrent to those who choose to drive dangerously. By enabling the public to submit footage we will reduce the number of serious or fatal collisions that occur on our roads.”
Inspector Steve Davies who delivered Operation Snap on behalf of South Wales Police stated, “Police officers cannot be everywhere, as much as they try, but with Operation Snap the police could be anywhere. The aim of this initiative is to change driver behaviour and their mind-set behind the wheel. We want drivers to ask themselves two questions: firstly, am I being recorded? and secondly, do I really want to take that chance?”
Footage can be submitted for any incidents in Wales at
My understanding is that between 12 to15 Police Services in the UK have shown an interest in the Wales system, with 9 likely to be introducing it soon. Some do or are likely to shortly introduce other systems of submitting 3rd party footage of illegal driving, such as Avon and Somerset, Sussex, in London there is https://beta.met.police.uk/report/report-a-road-traffic-incident/ and Essex have https://saferessexroads.org/extraeyes/extra-eyes-submit-footage/.
In order to find out what is happening in your area, contact the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Also see the good summary of what has been happening in Local Transport Today 27th October.
My thoughts on this initiative is that it shows a major commitment on the part of Wales Police Services to respond to public concern about illegal driving which endangers other road users, with the focus on deterring people who may otherwise drive badly. The key issue is how it develops in terms of public acceptance, willingness to submit footage and appropriate responses from the Police Services which will be taking this or similar systems up.
This latter point has regrettably been prominent in the last week with the case of an incident in Essex. In this case which has been extensively discussed on social media, Essex Police seem to have taken a lenient attitude towards a driver who collided with a cyclist and then punched him in the head. However, this contrasts with Essex Police’s action following another incident in Colchester in May, following which a driver was charged with dangerous driving and assault. (For an account of these cases see this )
So, as with all matters of road danger reduction, the issue is the changing of a culture which tolerates excessive rule and law breaking which endangers others. Knowing that bad driving may be reported and lead to unpleasant consequences could be part of that change. Watch this space.