“The police cannot be everywhere“ - Motorists in Norfolk support call for dashcams

Screengrabs from Tony Sutton's dashcam. Pictured: RTC at Thickthorn roundabout. Photo: Supplied Screengrabs from Tony Sutton's dashcam. Pictured: RTC at Thickthorn roundabout. Photo: Supplied

Tuesday, January 7, 2014
12:07 PM

Police are hoping thousands of motorists might be willing to send them videos of bad or dangerous drivers in an unusual move to help keep our roads safer.

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Increasing numbers of drivers are buying dashcams – cameras placed on dashboards – to help protect them from being wrongly blamed for crashes so they can prove they were not at fault in the event of a collision which could help in support of an insurance claim.


Call for drivers to get armed with ‘dashcams’ to become eyes and ears of police on the roads

The cameras are available for as little as £70 and police forces across the country are keen to tap into a network that would give them tens of thousands of extra eyes on the road.


Paul Marshall, Suffolk’s deputy chief constable, who is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on an initiative to digitise the collection, storage, and management of criminal evidence, said: “Increasing use is being made by the public of digital cameras to record evidence of offences which can be used by the police to support prosecutions.


“This is welcomed by ACPO as quite often the only evidence available is an eye witness account which is disputed by the alleged offender.”


Norfolk Constabulary, which has a joint roads policing unit with Suffolk, said it would not comment locally on the scheme although Stephen Bett, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “In the light it might well help reduce road deaths then its something we’ve got to look at, but until I know exactly what is involved, I wouldn’t want to comment further.”


Tony Sutton, 35, has captured a number of crashes, near misses and other motoring mishaps in Norfolk on his dashcam which he has been using for the past three years.

Mr Sutton, an IT worker who lives near Norwich, said he fully supported the call for people to use their dashcams to help bring dangerous or careless drivers to the police’s attention.


He said: “I think it’s a great way to do this as we know the police cannot be everywhere so they rely on the public to report these sorts of things.


“They currently accept anonymous tip-offs, so I can’t see why this would be any different and having a video is a big bonus since video/pictures tell you a full story.”


Mr Sutton said he was in 100pc agreement with the public using their dashcams to help police as long as the devices were set up correctly.


He said: “Date and time stamp is a bonus. Even better if it displays the GPS speed readings based on your car’s speed, so they can compare with other vehicles who were speeding past you or other uses.”


Mr Sutton said police had only acted on one of his videos when the driver of a car who moved across in front of him as he approached the Thickthorn roundabout near Norwich was given a formal warning.


Norwich driving instructor Paul Harmes, who last year captured footage of a G4S van which had been driving through the city with bags of money visible through an open hatch, is another motorist in favour of police receiving dashcam footage from the public.


He said: “It’s good in one way that police want to do this kind of thing but on the flip side it’s sad police can’t do it themselves.


“There are too many deaths, so any way people can report dangerous driving and help bring that down has to be a benefit.”


Dashcams are currently used by thousands of drivers in the UK with some of the devices on the market just a couple of inches long. They can be powered by batteries or car lighter sockets.


Some insurers have offered discounts of up to 15pc to drivers who have dashcams fitted with those that do believing the devices encourage safer driving as well as establishing fault in accidents and protecting against scams, particularly when fraudsters deliberately brake in order to cause an innocent motorist to collide with their car, or invent extra passengers who were supposedly injured in a crash.

8 comments

  • If the Thickthorn Roundabout had not been allowed to deteriorate into such a mess and hodge podge of attempts to make it work the safety record might have been better. Too many of our roundabouts and junctions are fiddled with post design and construction because they prove inadequate and the on the cheap solutions are often botched. I would like to see Norfolk police promising to put pressure on NCC and the HIghways agency when they encounter some part of the road network which has become unfit for purpose and increases the risk of accidents no matter how careful drivers are.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Whilst it would be very nice to think that people with dashcams fitted in their cars would happily turn over video clips to the police when they have witnessed a driver doing something illegal or wrong the novelty will soon wear off. How many people would want to have to provide a witness statement and then potentially have to go to court to 'assist' the police with a prosecution? One or two maybe, but for the majority it would be an inconvenience and costly exercise to have to deputise for an underfunded and under resourced police force.

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    Bad Form

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Most of this type of footage has been recorded on mobile phones and not 'dash cams'. - an offence in itself!

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    Norfolk John

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Where did you get that confirmation from, not the comments made here for sure. Please clarify or get your story right.

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    KeithS

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Ello ello ello. What going on here then ?. All comments have disappeared ?. We had better lean on Archant and force them to remove all derogatory remarks about us, by threatening and persecuting them with imprisonment, fines or both. Sort it out P.C.452 !!!.

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    "V"

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Norfolk John-I assume you have proof for your statement? Judging by the limited number of convictions brought by the police for drivers using mobile phones whilst driving it would appear that your comments couldn't possibly be true!

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    Bad Form

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Brilliant idea if it will get some of the idiots off the road, everyday we hear of loads of accidents across Norfolk.

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    gerry mitson

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

  • Odd how comments work on some stories but not others

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    john smith

    Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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