A failed result is a good result

November 21, 2012 — 17 Comments

As per my previous post about how roadsafe are working for better results. I think the following shows just how they have changed. I had an extremely close pass by the driver of M391UMF and I reported it to road safe in the usual way.

PC Walters got in touch with me and asked if I could provide a statement and a DVD copy of the incident for him to take further action. We discussed possibilities and agreed that a Section 59 notice was the best option.

A Section 59 notice refers to section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002, this allows the police to warn a driver about their driving, if witnessed doing further driving which would cause alarm distress or annoyance and the car can be seized. The marker is put against both the driver and the vehicle for 12 months. There is a high chance that the seized vehicle would be crushed.
This is the first time that I’ve heard of Roadsafe using a section 59 notice and it is a great way to bring consequences to drivers easily.

A few weeks later and I was contacted by the Traffic Criminal Justice Unit in Sidcup.

Unfortunately, in this particular case as police were unable to serve the driver with the statutory notice within the timescales required by section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, we are unable to investigate this matter further.

I asked PC Walters for some more information about this and what it meant, his response is as follows.

The submission of papers to the Criminal Justice Unit has unfortunately relied on an assumption that letters I sent were acceptable re information sent to all drivers.

By the time statements have been taken and the video copied the ability to prosecute has lapsed in that the Criminal Justice Unit is required to serve a Notice Of Intended Prosecution within a 14 day period.

I argued that the letter telling the driver from myself that a decision had been made to take action did not convince the CJU that it was sufficient information served on the driver allowing them to take action.

There was a problem in wording which I accept puts me to blame. This is down to me not being the reporting officer but the submissions officer.

Apparently exact words and the summons need to be served. As this is a pilot project it fell down to me not informing the CJU in time for them to serve a NIP to the driver. I assumed the letters I sent to drivers ensured that they were aware action was being taken

I am in a meeting with the CJU to ensure that this does not happen again and can only apologise.

I am setting up a new reporting and submissions section of the Roadsafe reporting scheme for incidents like this.

I can ensure you this will not happen again and can only apologise.

As said in the previous post, this is a new initiative and as such there can be a few learning curves on the way. My understanding is that this incident was the first to be ‘given’ a section 59 notice from road safe London and from talking with my fellow video camera cyclists, I’m aware that a few more are being ‘given’ since, so I like to think of this as a positive step, even though it was a failed one. The driver was still notified by the police about the incident, so he was made aware of his poor driving, which is all I was expecting when I initially reported it to road safe.

I asked PC Walters if those of us reporting videos could do anything to make it easier. He told me that the best thing to do is to report it on the day and upload it to a place which road safe to use, the best option is YouTube, he is then able to forward action to the TCJU as soon as possible and this is what will avoid the 14 day limit which was an issue here.

* I would like to apologise for the delay in getting this out. I have actually known about this for nearly a month, work commitments have left me very little free time.

Gaz

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Gaz is one of the well known cyclists in a growing community of those using cameras. With over 30,000 Youtube subscribers and more than 6,000,000 online video views, his channels and videos are among some of the most popular of their kind. Gaz has spoken on Radio, TV and in national cycling campaigns about the use of cameras and the power of videos.

17 responses to A failed result is a good result

  1. Frustrating but at least lessons have been learned (hopefully by the driver also).

    The 14 day limit on a NIP is quite annoying. I always try to get particularly bad incidents up as quick as possible but it can be a bit of a pain when i’ve got other things going on.

  2. I actually met with Jon yesterday to give a statement about a van that left me no room at all at a restricted width section of road.
    He told me that things were changing very much for the better.
    This particular incident happened a while ago but I was unable to meet Jon until yesterday because I was away on holiday. The NIP had already been issued though and Jon has already contacted the owner of the van before he took my statement.
    Roadsafe really is worth something now. I was beginning to lose faith in it before.

    • Your not the first one to say that they are disappointed with the direction that roadsafe was going before. It’s certainly moving forward with what they are doing and for the better.

  3. Do you think it’s possible for you to speak to PC Walters and have him to seek whoever has the ‘powers’ up above to make this to work for national police (database?) i.e. working together to make this possible?

    • Because of the way the Police forces work (separate entities), setting up a national scheme for this is going to be next to impossible.

  4. Progress. IMO we badly need RoadSafe rolled out nationally. Pooled resources and all that.

  5. Glad to hear there’s some progress on this with the Met. Would like to see West Midlands Police follow suit.

    Last time I got knocked off I was in a head on collision with a lorry (he was on the wrong side of the road) and as the driver had stopped and exchanged details at the scene and I wasn’t killed or maimed (grazed knee, bit of bruising) West Midlands Police refused to even take a report of the incident, never mind actually do anything about it!

  6. Really enjoy your blog/videos Gaz. Recently got a camera myself. Terrific that you’re taking the time to do this. Did you need to supply a DVD of the clip in the end or is YouTube considered sufficient?

    I’m confused about Roadsafe and the reporting system though. Would appreciate if someone could give me their thoughts on the following:

    On the Roadsafe homepage [http://www.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon/] it states that the form is not a “means of reporting collisions” or “bad driving with a view to prosecution”.

    This page [http://content.met.police.uk/Article/Collision-forms-and-reports/1400005513174/1400005513174] states that you need to physically submit a form 966 to a police station if “you are witness to or the subject of bad driving which does not result in a collision”. A form 966 submission can result in a prosecution.

    Does PC Walters’ work now mean that the Roadsafe form has become a replacement for submitting a form 966? Can an incident reported via Roadsafe therefore result in a prosecution, or is an ‘out of court’ penalty, like a Section 59 warning, the only possible result? Section 59 seems like a great outcome in most cases like this, but it only covers careless/inconsiderate driving, not specific offences like speeding, mobile phone use etc. Can such specific offences be prosecuted, or a FPN be given retroactively, via a Roadsafe submission?

    Concerning Section 59 – does a warning or seizure remain on the offenders police record, even after 12 months has passed? Does anyone know what the recovery costs are that need to be repaid to get a seized vehicle returned? It seems like this is a purely financial punishment, doesn’t even result in any penalty points. It would be interesting to see if cars seized this way actually do get crushed.

    Also, it seems to me that if Section 59 is being applied, then the offender is not actually being prosecuted for any offence under the Road Traffic Act, therefore the requirement to serve a Notice of Intended Prosecution shouldn’t apply? In fact Section 59 seems to exist partly to avoid the need to prosecute someone for careless/inconsiderate driving, hence subsection 1.b. here [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/30/section/59]. Schedule 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act shows the offenses for which a notice needs to be served, and there’s no mention of Section 59 warning [http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/53/schedule/1]. Am I right in thinking that Section 59 isn’t a prosecution as such? (prosecutions result in a trial, no?)

    If an NIP really does have to be served within 14 days then it means submitting the Roadsafe form as quickly as possible is very important. Is there a recommended way of following up on Roadsafe submissions if we don’t hear anything within the 12 days or so?

    It would be great to have a site to gather information about successful & unsuccessful cycle cam police complaints, I might try to setup something after I’ve got a youtube account sorted.

    • Initially when reporting to roadsafe. you need only put it on youtube. For prosecutions you will need to supply the footage on a DVD.

      If there was a collision or if the incident was extremely serious, then the best course of action is to report the incident via form 207 and taking it to the local police station with a copy of the incident on DVD (this should be done ASAP).

      A seized vehicle from a section 59 will be crushed 9/10 times.

      I can’t answer your other questions as I don’t know the answers.

      As for a site about reporting incidences and results. I have set that up already and ask anyone that can write something to please do so – http://www.cyclecamera.tv/

  7. I hope something does happen on a national scale. I live in Durham and started cycling to work almost two years ago. I’ve been using a video camera for the last few months because of close passes and abuse I’ve been subjected to.

    What’s shocked me most is the attitude and lack of knowledge from the Police from Durham Constabulary with how to deal with captured footage. The first time I reported someone they insisted that video footage was not evidence and would still come down to my word against theirs. The second time they said they would have to send someone round to my house to view the footage and then asked me why I wouldn’t use the shared pedestrian / cycle path instead of the road. The North needs some serious education on cyclists rights.

  8. Gaz, I hadn’t realised about the roadsafe scheme at all unfortunately until I had read about it here and I cycle an awful lot and have done for many years. Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for bringing it to my attention, at the very minimum I’m going to set up a page about it on Bikehound and try to get the word out a bit further. With camera prices coming down all the time more riders need to know about this.

    I can even envisage a time when Roadsafe is so swamped with submissions that they can’t cope any more, eventually that’s surely got to lead to a shift in government policy – the more the stats increase the more they have to do something.

    Well, we can always work towards it can’t we!

    Regards
    Charles
    Bikehound

  9. As an environmentalist I’d like to point out that a large amount of pollution is caused in the creation of a car and I don’t just mean CO2 but a whole myriad of pollutants polluting the land, water/sea and air. To simply crush a car that could be sold to benefit the tax-payer and the environment is an outrageous act which is obviously there to please the car companies who will most likely get to sell another car sooner as a consequence.

  10. Gaz you do not help yourself by swearing it just aggravates people more also I notice a distinct lack of mention about cyclists have road tax and insurance why should I and the rest of cyclist not be insured and taxed then we have a case.
    Simcaboy

  11. keep up the good work gaz!

  12. Gaz, here’s a post I wrote on how to report this sort of thing to roadsafe, with input from an officer. I should have posted this earlier :-(

    http://mrdrem.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/sharing-videos-with-roadsafe.html?m=1

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