Drivers using in-car cameras to record law-breakers should be rewarded, says Flexed.co.uk
That’s the view of car leasing firm Flexed.co.uk, which says that this could be extended so that pedestrians and passengers can to submit mobile phone footage to help police crack down on dangerous driving.
‘It's an idea for which the time has come,’ said Flexed.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, ‘Budget cuts mean the police are stretched far enough as it is, so allowing citizens to submit footage in return for a reward on prosecution will help improve road safety.’
Expert opinion is also on the side of legalising evidence from citizen sources. Jonathan Ratcliffe, Managing Director of CCTV.co.uk, said: ‘Closed-circuit camera systems have long been accepted as sources of evidence as long as the footage is time-stamped and dated.
‘The same should also be true for even the more modest in-car systems, whose footage is more than acceptable for insurance purposes. It's an excellent use of the technology that has come on leaps and bounds in recent years.’
Ratcliffe also says that metadata that comes with mobile phone video files should also be acceptable. ‘As long as there's no way of tampering with footage and associated metadata, there should be no problem in law with it being used in prosecutions. It would only take a relatively small change in police legal guidelines.’
However, Flexed added that people should remain under no obligation to submit footage, meaning that police are effectively barred from accessing the contents of people's phone or camera memory cards, in the same way that press photographers are protected now.
‘As long as there are safeguards for fraud, this is a plan that could act as a deterrent of misbehaving drivers up and down the country,’ added Mark Hall.
‘And it will also bring about a whole new generation of people with respect for the law.’