The Met reporting systems downfall

Anyone that follows me on my twitter or youtube will know that recently I’ve been posting a lot of result videos, some fantastic results from the Met Police (London Police force). These are mostly detailed in my Results playlist on youtube.

I’ve been reporting to the Met for the past 10 years, they’ve had various methods, from filling out paper forms and burning disks to fully fledged online forms where you can upload footage.

The later started in early 2018 and since then I’ve made 187 reports. Nearly 70% of these reports have resulted in some form of action; warning letters, driving courses, fixed penalty notices or court action. But 28% have had no action taken!

Whilst no action responses from the Met are sometimes not what I want, I try to learn from each one and work out if I should make similar reports in the future or what information is needed. So in 2018 32% of my reports had no action taken and in 2019 that is down to 25%. I’ve also had an increase of nearly 100% in reports from 2018 to 2019, so the reduced no action is positive.

Their downfall however is the inconsistencies in the responses from the Met on what they will or won’t take action on. I do of course understand the issue with Mobile Phone offences and Barretto Case, although they should just go for not being in proper control, but that’s another story.

So lets look at two report types I have reported and the responses.

Number plate offences.

We all know that there are various things drivers are doing to change/mask their number plates. Things like putting them in the window, incorrect font, markings to make them look different and a recent trend of putting a tinting film over the top of them. Here are my reports:

Number plateIssueResponse
AS11CCCThere was a dot between the two ones to make it look like a H.No action
T11OPEThere was a dot between the two ones to make it look like a HFPN £100
Number plate too small on a motorbike and in a position difficult to readNIP
Missing number plate from trailerNIP
Different number plate on trailerNIP
Number plate using incorrect font and makes numbers look like a letterNo response
SS11ALYThere was a dot between the two ones to make it look like a H.No Action

So 7 reports over the two years. 3 are ongoing, 1 i’ve not had a response yet. But the 3 that I have had a response on are all exactly the same. A dot between the 11’s to make it look like a H. In all cases I provided a view with enough detail to show that it isn’t the fixing bolts.

The first and last were no action for what ever reason, but the second was issued a FPN of £100 for the offence. Why now are they not taking action when they have previously? I asked them, and this is the response I got:

The policy now is that we will not deal with vehicle defect offences. This is because depending on the defect, trained Police Officers need to take measurements, use specific equipment etc, and that is not something which can be done via media in case we are challenged in court

Met Police

It’s a super easy offence, the video is clear as day in regards to my recent report that had no action taken. The reason we have so many issues with people not using the correct format of number plates is because there is A. no enforcement by the Police B. a tiny penalty of £100. Now to some this is a considerable amount of money, but these are not the people that are changing their number plates.

Red Light offences

I’m only going to focus on those going through the junction, and not those not stopping at the first stop line. Whilst they are the same offence from a legal standing, I find they are dealt with very differently.

Frames since redSeconds since redAction taken
40013.333driving course
250.833driving course
541.8failed to nominate
6 points £826 fines
220.733Warning letter
290.966Warning Letter
1374.566driving course
80.266no action
190.633Warning letter
311.033No Action
110.366No action

* note I didn’t see the light turn from green to red, so this was technically longer.

17 reports total, the on going ones are likely going to a driving course, FPN or court case. The ones with a very long time are ones where they mostly jumped before it changed.

No Action is a range of 8 – 31 frames
Warning letter is a range of 19 – 29 frames
driving course is a range of 25 – 400 frames
NIP means action is being taken and it’s 24 frames and up.

So there is clearly a lot of overlap on each type, which we would of course expect to some degree, I don’t think they are going through frame by frame to count how bad they are.

Now I did flag on a couple of these reports that there is this overlap. I had a no action on one which was over a second late on the red light. I was told on one report that they wouldn’t take action unless it was over 2 seconds.

We would not be able to pursue an allegation of this sort unless they went through the red lights at least 2 seconds after they change as no court would convict for this.

Met Police

Clearly given the several reports under 2 seconds that they are taking action on, this isn’t the case.

We must remember, the amber phase is shown for 3 seconds before the red on all of these traffic lights and amber means the same as red. So these drivers had plenty of time to stop!

I’ve picked these two types of incidences because they are factual and clear cut. I will of course concede that the quality of footage on other reports can lead to ambiguity as to what is actually happening and as such do agree that the footage isn’t clear enough for them to do anything.

To put this all into perspective, and why this system is a positive. Of the 187 reports made so far:

  • 61% are issued NIPs (Notice of intended prosecutions)
  • 6% are issued warnings
  • 28% have no action taken
  • 5% are awaiting feedback

Of the 115 reports that have been issued NIPs, 56 are completed:

  • 16 were sent on driving courses
  • 18 were issued FPNs (fixed penalty notices)
  • 22 went to court.

This has resulted in:

  • 178 points issued
  • £14,490 in fines

I have 59 outstanding NIPs, given the 56 results, we can expect to see a further:

  • 187 points issued
  • £15,266 in fines

My stats from 2010 till 2018 from all my reports was 1 driving course and 4 court cases, which resulted in

  • 18 points
  • £1,495 in fines.

So definitely a great improvement in how the Police in London are dealing with reports, however the inconsistency in how they handle clear cut factual reports is disappointing.

The ‘Efficacy’ of RoadSafe Website

Anyone that has gone through my previous blog posts will know that I’m a user of the RoadSafe London website and I was invited to meet the team that run it.

Only today I reported two incidences to RoadSafe, one for a white van that overtook me far to close and another where I’m concerned that a scooter rider hasn’t done his CBT and is putting him self in danger due to his riding style.

Recently a Freedom of information request was logged by Tim Lennon asking the following questions to the Metropolitan Police Service about the RoadSafe Website. Questions are in bold and the full FOI can be found here.

  1. How many people have visited the site since its inception?
    Since November 2009 the site has been visited 8235 times.
  2. How many copies of the form have been filled in? by how many individuals?
    From Nov to Dev 2009 = 12 Reports
    from Jan 2010 to date = 1213 reports
    The system does not capture data to provide detail of how many individuals have filled in forms.
  3. What transport method was in use by those filling in the form?
    Details of mode of transport is not logged
  4. How many people have been contacted (i.e. those listed in ‘driver details’ or ‘vehicle details’)
    We have sent 659 letters to resisted keepers and/or companies
  5. How many individuals and individual vehicles have been named in these forms?
    58 drivers named
  6. What action has been taken in each instance? (if detail is expensive to provide, you may simply advise how many have been cautioned , how many have had words of advice or similar, and how many have been pursued with further legal means.)
    Nine specific tasks aimed at disqualified or drink drivers. Resulting in two disqualified drivers arrested, one suspected persistent drink driver stopped.
    Eight reports generated and forwarded to our criminal justice unit for a decision on prosecution.
    Twenty eight intelligence reports passed to the MPS Cab Enforcement office.
    Four interest reports added to the ANPR database.
    Twenty one Intelligence reports disseminated to other MPS units.
    Twenty nine previously unreported collisions received.
    Four company visits made by our Commercial Vehicle Unit.
    Twenty one cycle intelligence reports passed to newly formed cycle team to deal.
    Eleven reports passed to our Traffic Management Unit to investigate alleged problems with road engineering. One of these resulted in recommendation to council for engineering solution. This has now been completed with new bollards and signs put in place.
    There have been 393 instances of no further action from reports created.
  7. Has any cost benefit analysis or similar been done of the site and its activity (if so, can you supply this data or report?)

I don’t know the person that requested this FOI, or what there intentions where, I’m unaware if they are a blogger as i was passed this link by one of my twitter followers and he found it in the comments of another blog post.

A lot of people are complaining that this is no better than before. The roadsafe website makes it easy to make a complaint about a vehicle and their driver but without proof the police are unlikely to do anything about it. Which to me is understandable.
And you have to be realistic with what you expect them to do.

Looking at the results of the FOI request, it’s clear that they are using the information they are getting in a positive way. The information is being passed on to specific teams that can deal with them in a better way, and arrests and prosecutions are being made where possible.

With 1225 reports made with RoadSafe in nearly a year and 659 letters sent out to the registered keepers and/or companies. Your complaint has a 1 in 2 chance of having some action being taken place. A letter might not do much, but it should be kept on record against the vehicle that they have been contacted about their driving in the past.

More than 40% of the reports are about cycling ‘near miss’ this just shows that a vast majority of the users of it are cyclists. And I know that most of the London helmet camera users will report the worst stuff they see to RoadSafe, So I expect a vast majority of those 530 cycling near misses will be accompanied by video evidence.
With lots of video evidence going to the police with regards to issues that we cyclists face on a daily basis, one can only hope that they listen and help to do something about it.
Clearly we are going a step in the right direction as the cycling task force has been launched and they are tackling various issues across London by bicycle.

The only bad thing to pick up from this information is the fact that the traffic to the webpage is quite low. I still haven’t seen any advertising about this form, and I only found out due to word of mouth from other cyclists.
I recall from when I met the officers that run the website, they said something about a soft launch first of all and then going public later. An extended testing period?