Police Scotland’s inaction has left Scotland’s roads less safe following their decision to drop plans for a new road safety tool allowing the public to submit video evidence of road crimes, according to Cycling UK.
The National Dashcam Safety Portal (NDSP) would provide an online portal where members of the public could report dangerous driving or other road crimes by uploading footage directly to Police Scotland for review.
Police Scotland is the only police force in Great Britain without such a system.
Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said: “We are extremely disappointed that Police Scotland has gone back on its commitment to develop and roll out the National Dashcam Safety Portal across Scotland as a vital road safety tool.
“The technology is there, so it’s hard to understand why Police Scotland has refused to adopt it, when the case for its introduction is overwhelming: it will save them time and money, is widely supported by the public and road user groups and is used successfully everywhere else in Great Britain.
“Cycling UK is happy to work with the police to ensure that the people of Scotland receive the system that they were promised.”
Police Scotland’s decision was announced in response to a Parliamentary question from Labour MSP Rhoda Grant on Friday, October 6.
Police Scotland originally committed to piloting a reporting portal in March 2022 following a campaign led by Cycling UK and supported by 32 organisations representing a wide range of road users and road safety organisations, including the AA, the RAC, Brake and RoadPeace.
At that time, Transport Scotland made £300,000 of funding available to develop the portal.
But last month, Minister for Justice Angela Constance revealed that the system has been cancelled by Police Scotland, who concluded that “a stand-alone portal is not the optimum route to create the capability for digital media submissions to be submitted by members of the public.”
A different system, the Digital Evidence Sharing Capability, is currently being piloted in Dundee, and is scheduled for national roll out in 2025.
The charity questions why Police Scotland is pursuing a new system for 2025 when existing tried and tested systems in use across the rest of Great Britain could be implemented “much sooner”.
Reports to the National Dash Cam Safety Portal (NDCSP) in 2021, when it was being used by 37 UK police forces, led to action being taken against drivers in over 80% of cases.
Such portals have also been shown to save police time, as the footage can be reviewed by trained civilian staff.
A YouGov poll in August 2021 showed that 59% of Scottish adults supported the introduction of such a system, while 17% opposed it.
Neil Greig, policy advisor at IAM RoadSmart, added: “Law-abiding Scottish drivers will be disappointed at the continued delays in delivering a simple dash cam portal system that would allow them to submit evidence of dangerous behaviour on our roads.
“The key thing for us is that the system chosen is user friendly, easy to access, reliable and in place as soon as possible. The experience of English police forces is that evidence from road users has been a useful extra tool for them in promoting road safety.”