Controversial Dashcam Database Sees Thousands Of Prosecutions

Mon 16th Mar 2020

A police database which was designed for the public to upload dashcam footage of dangerous driving has led to 5,000 police actions since being set up in July 2018.

The National Dash Cam Safety Portal has seen more than 10,000 uploads in the last 20 months, from some of the 3million road users who currently have a camera on their dashboard or cycling helmet.

In a report on the BBC’s Inside Out programme, the company which manages the database, Nextbase, revealed how effective the collection of footage has been, saving police forces a total of 68,474 man hours, the equivalent of 2,685 days - or seven officer years.

“There have been around 10,000 uploads sent through the National Dash Cam Safety Portal,” said Bryn Booker, the Nextbase portal operator.

“It goes directly to the police through a secure and encrypted system that is approved by the police. So we do not touch this data whatsoever.”

In a separate report in The Daily Mail, it was estimated that more than 1,200 drivers have been prosecuted using the footage in the first year alone.

While the footage may be effective at catching unknowing dangerous drivers, some argue that the system is wasting too much precious police time and that the footage is not an adequate replacement for having actual police on the roads. 

Civil liberty campaigners are also concerned, with one group Big Brother Watch suggesting that the system is encouraging amateur spies.

“The idea that motorists should constantly film each other may be well-intentioned but it risks breeding a culture of mistrust and suspicion,” a spokesman said.

“The UK has more surveillance cameras than any other country in Europe. The ANPR network that surveils innocent drivers already captures 40million photos a day.

“The last thing we need is ordinary people being encouraged to spy on each other too.”