​Dash and helmet cam vigilantes take to the streets

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Joe Giddens/PA Archive

Dash cams have gone from being the preserve of vulnerable drivers on the wild roads of deepest, darkest Russia to common fixtures on UK windscreens. One side effect of this is a new breed of vigilante videographers taking to British streets.
Now road users are all turning to dash and helmet cams to catch footage of the more dangerous people on the roads, with videos being used as evidence to help convict dangerous drivers and to caution bad motorists.

With everyone from cyclists to lorry drivers using the cameras, it's not just the police that dangerous drivers need to watch out for, with tens of thousands of motorists now recording their own footage, including cyclists for their own protection and drivers resorting to the cameras as evidence to settle insurance disputes.

Even in the event of a true accident where both parties contest who was to blame, the cameras should give an objective view of exactly what happened, as police forces are often too stretched to fully investigate this kind of dispute.

One cyclist has captured 400 incidents over the last two years, which have led to dozens of convictions. Dave Sherry told Sky: "A couple of years ago I had an incident involving a bad driver. I called the police and they said it's your word against his and I decided on video evidence.

"It's indisputable and it basically fits on the bike to show the bad drivers for who they are."

Thanks to Mr Sherry's footage one bus driver lost his job after being filmed looking at a handset while driving a packed bus. However, while some police forces are happy to use footage as evidence, others claim that they don't have resources to process such footage, except in extreme cases.

Following the increased use of dash cams the Home Office is now setting out "common standards" on how video should be used by police and the legal system.

Chief constable Giles York, from the National Policing Lead for Digital Evidence told Sky: "With motoring offences, videos filmed from dashboard mounted cameras are admissible as evidence, and assuming that the quality is good and the evidence can be corroborated the police will record, report and consider the circumstances of each case on its merits."
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