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Can The Police Use Dash Cam Footage to Prosecute?

Can The Police Use Dash Cam Footage to Prosecute

Yes, the police can utilise dash cam footage as evidence to prosecute you for a motoring offence. Many people are under the impression that videos taken or captured by members of the public cannot be used to prosecute them, as they are not someone of authority such as a police officer, but this is untrue.

As the advancement of technology progresses, so does our usage of these devices. Over the last couple of years, police forces have seen an increase in the amount of dash cam video footage received.

Expert Legal Guidance for Dash Cam Prosecution Cases

At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we understand the impact that any motoring offence charge can have. If you are facing a charge as a result of dash cam footage, we can help you to understand the process and explore all available defences and mitigating circumstances that could potentially reduce the severity of the penalties you face.

You can contact our office for a free consultation on 0151 944 4967.

Read on for more detail on dash cam footage and prosecution

What Is Dashcam Footage And How Is It Used? 

Dashcam footage refers to video recordings captured by cameras mounted on vehicle dashboards or windshields, commonly known as “dash cams.” This footage can record events happening in front of the vehicle while driving.

Police forces are increasingly receiving and utilising dashcam footage submitted by members of the public that depict alleged motoring offences committed by other drivers. This includes clips showing road users breaking the law.

For example, West Midlands saw an increase in dash cam footage received from 2,245 submissions in 2020, to 5,625 submissions in 2022. The use of dash cam footage on UK roads to record yourself and other drivers is completely legal and no special permission is required.

Some Key Points About How Dash Cam Footage Is Used:

  • Police can receive dashcam clips via phone, email, online portals (like the National Dash Cam Portal in the UK), or direct uploads to police websites.
  • When submitting footage, the person usually has to make a statement confirming they will provide evidence and testify in court if needed.
  • Police review submitted footage to determine if there are grounds to prosecute the alleged offending driver for violations like dangerous driving, running red lights, using a mobile phone, etc.
  • If prosecuting, police must notify the vehicle’s registered owner with a “Notice of Intended Prosecution” within 14 days of the alleged offence occurring.
  •  Dashcam footage meeting admissibility criteria can then be used as key evidence if the case proceeds to court, especially if it shows the defendant driving without due care or crossing solid white lines for example.

In summary, the increasing prevalence of dashcams has provided a new source of potential evidence for police to identify and prosecute driving offences captured on video by other motorists.

How Do Police Receive Dash Cam Footage?

Police receive dash cam footage of alleged driving offences in various ways, including; phone calls, emails, online portals like the National Dash Cam Portal, and direct uploads to police websites.

Before submitting footage, individuals will be asked to complete a section 9 statement, in accordance with s16 The Criminal Procedure Rules 2020 and s9 Criminal Justice Act 1967. Without this statement, police may not be able to prosecute the alleged offender.

The National Dash Cam Portal has received over 54,000 video uploads since 2020 from dash cams, phones, and other camera sources. Many of these uploads come from other road users concerned about safety. While police previously lacked evidence for public allegations, dash cams now provide recordings that can lead to prosecutions, even when drivers don’t notice civilian cameras recording their offences.

How Do Police Decide Whether Or Not To Prosecute?

After receiving dash cam footage, a police officer reviews it to decide if there is enough evidence to prosecute the alleged driving offence. The officer considers both the video footage itself and any supporting statements provided.

The responsibility of proving any offence always falls with the police or CPS. This includes using footage from the public domain to show a driver was breaking the law. They must therefore determine if they should proceed with charges based on the evidence. If the reviewing officer believes the footage is insufficient or not likely to result in a successful prosecution, they may choose to take no further action or issue a warning to the alleged offender.

If police decide to prosecute based on the dash cam video, they must notify the vehicle’s registered owner of the intended prosecution within 14 days of when the alleged offence took place. This notification is sent requesting the name of who was driving the vehicle at that time.

For sole vehicle owners, identifying the driver is straightforward but if the vehicle is shared, providing the driver’s name can get complicated. It’s crucial to respond before the time limit expires, as failing to identify the driver can itself result in an additional charge carrying 6 penalty points and a fine up to £1,000 – potentially more severe than the original alleged offence.


Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used In Court?

Yes, dash cam footage can be used in Court, especially in cases where the police have made the decision to prosecute over dash cam footage received. This includes footage showing drivers breaking the law by driving without due care for example.

If charges are contested, the dash cam footage will likely be played at court to assist the Judge with making their decision. It is important to note that even if the footage is used to prosecute you for an offence, you will still have the opportunity to present a defence.

What Footage Would Be Deemed Admissible?

Not all dash cam footage is admissible. Even if the police or CPS proceed with prosecuting you for the alleged offence, it is always worth obtaining legal advice to access any potential defences you may have.

As a general guide dash cam footage must fulfil the below criteria to be used as evidence or deemed admissible.

  • The footage does not need to show the driver of the vehicle but will need to clearly show the number plate, in order to correctly identify the vehicle in question.
  • The footage needs to clearly show the alleged offence taking place, with some footage before and after. Police are less likely to prosecute a short clip, only showing the offence in taking place, as it is more difficult to determine if a prior incident played a part in the offence being committed.
  • The person submitting the footage must keep the original unedited footage, for the duration of proceedings, in case this is requested. The footage does not necessarily have to contain a date or time stamp, but the owner of the footage must be willing to assert these facts under oath.
  • The footage must be clear and of good quality, not blurry or unclear.
  • It must be easy to establish the owner of the dashcam footage, how it has been stored and sent to the relevant constabulary and any other information needed to be submitted as evidence.
  • The footage must be compliant with all relevant laws, data protection and privacy regulations.

Which Offences Can Police Prosecute For From Dash Cam Footage?

Dash cam footage most commonly captures offences such as:

  • dangerous driving
  • careless driving
  • failure to comply with a red light
  • driving whilst using a mobile phone.

Nearly 55,000 dashcam videos of demonstrating alleged dangerous driving, were sent to police constabularies in the preceding three years. The police also receive dash cam footage for alleged speeding offences, but this is much more difficult to evidence accurately and unless the speed travelled at is excessive enough to amount to a careless/dangerous driving charge, the police are unlikely to prosecute.

Some dash cams can record speed, but this is generally used more commonly if the driver of the vehicle containing the dash cam is looking to contest a speeding charge, rather than as evidence for another driver.

Can The Police Use My Personal Dash Cam Footage To Prosecute Me?

Yes, the police can pull you over if they believe you have committed an offence and ask you to show them your dash cam footage to potentially evidence this. If you submit dash cam footage of another driver, this can also be used to prosecute you, if the footage evidences you also committing a motoring offence. Caution is advised when sharing footage on social media.

Specialist Legal Advice For Cases Relating To Dash Cam Footage

We would always advise taking legal advice if you are being prosecuted for a motoring offence, involving dash cam footage, especially if the offence you are being charged with is careless or dangerous driving.

At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a team of specialist motor defence lawyers who are experts in reviewing and advising on evidential footage. We understand the complexities of these cases and have a proven track record of successfully assisting clients. We would recommend sending across a copy of the footage you have received to a member of our team, so we can review this for you and advise on your prospects of running a defence to the alleged offence.

How We Can Help

From the most straightforward to the most intricate cases, we are dedicated to providing personalised support and guidance. We begin every enquiry with an informal discussion to gain a thorough understanding of your unique circumstances and to address any questions you may have in complete confidence.

If you have been charged with an offence involving dash cam footage, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for a free consultation on 0151 944 4967.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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