A police boss is urging more drivers to use dashboard mounted cameras to help in the battle against death and serious accidents on the roads of North Wales.
According to newly-elected North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, footage from dashcams can play a role in securing convictions and deterring dangerous driving.
Mr Jones, a former police inspector, spoke out during a visit to North Wales Police’s Roads Policing Unit in St Asaph.
Earlier this year the force released dashcam footage as a warning after lorry driver Nicholas Clough, from Bromborough, Wirral, was jailed for three and a half years.
Clough was sentenced at Caernarfon Crown Court in April following an accident which caused the death of married father Daren Longden, 37, from Rawden, near Leeds.
The court heard that Clough was “fiddling” with his satnav at the time of the incident on the A55 at St George, near Abergele.
Mr Jones said: “Dashcams in cars and helmetcams used by cyclists can show near misses and anti-social driving and I think we should do more of this and use more evidence from people.
“It’s vitally important for us all that we find these people who drive in an anti-social way and get them off the roads as soon as possible.
“In principle, dashcams and helmetcams are exactly like body-worn videos worn by police officers in that they provide the best evidence.
“You cannot describe in words what you can capture in an image. It is the best evidence and we should make the most of it.
“I would urge more people to start using dashcams and helmetcams as they can play a role in making sure our roads are safer.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Chief Inspector Darren Wareing who is in charge of the Roads Policing Unit in St Asaph.
The priority, he said, was reducing the risk of people being involved in collisions on the road.
Chief Insp Wareing added said: “We look at influencing people’s behaviour over what we call the fatal five offences, drink and drugs, using mobile phones or other smart devices, dangerous and careless driving, speeding and importantly not wearing a seatbelt.
“Some people will take a conscious decision to overtake when they shouldn’t overtake, to speed when they shouldn’t speed, to turn when they shouldn’t turn, to do daft things in their cars and the consequences can be devastating and cause death.”
Chief Insp Wareing agreed the increased use of dashcams and helmetcams was a good thing.
He said: “Dashcams are becoming more affordable. You can get a really good, high definition piece of kit that people put on their windscreens or attach to their rear view mirrors and the same in the back and it’s great for us.
“It’s evidence and it gives us the opportunity to go knock on the door of somebody doing daft things.
“If we can influence them by having a chat with them or more importantly give them a few points on their licence, then maybe they’ll think twice because, believe me, they don’t think twice about the consequence.
“Footage from dashcams is evidence from an observer. We still have to speak to the people involved and we have to investigate but we treat that as evidence, as we would do with CCTV from towns or anything like that.