CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Debate!

Close Passes with Video Evidence

(29 posts)
  • Started 11 months ago by EdinburghCycleCam
  • Latest reply from gembo

No tags yet.


  1. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    Hi all,

    I recently had a stupidly close pass outside Broxburn, which bothered me enough to go against my rule of not reporting close passes (because nothing ever happens) and reported it.

    Usually, police from my local station will come out and look at the footage, take a statement, and then speak to the driver. After that, they're usually very reluctant to do anything and in my opinion make all sorts of excuses not to charge the driver. This time however, I was e-mailed a close pass form - which I've linked at the end of this post (thanks chrisf!) - and told to submit it to Fettes.

    I completed the form and handed it in with the video footage at Monday lunch time. On Tuesday morning (7:30am), I was e-mailed by a roads traffic officer who said that he's reviewed the footage and agreed that it constituted careless driving, and would be prosecuting the driver. At about 11am he e-mailed again to say that he'd spoken to the driver and had served him with the appropriate paperwork to charge him, and additionally had served him paperwork that allows the court to change the charge to dangerous driving if they wish (though he said he doubts that will happen).

    He just phoned me a few minutes ago to tell me that everything had been submitted to the courts and it'd be a few months before I hear any more due to the COVID-related backlogs, so I took the opportunity to ask some questions.

    Apparently any close pass where the cyclist has video should be submitted using the close pass form, and NOT to your local station. He said that it's very frustrating because most local stations still don't know about the close pass initiative and even if they do, they don't know that the form exists and will try to handle it themselves (and reading between the lines: mess it up).
    He recommended that in future I phone 101 to report it just to get an incident number, but then complete the same close pass form and hand it in to Fettes (I cycled over and handed it in at reception, presumably mail would be fine as well).

    Regarding time limits - I've had several instances where an obvious close pass can't be prosecuted because some time limit has expired, and there's nothing that can be done.

    • The close pass form needs to be returned to Fettes within 7 days of the close pass.
    • The Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) needs to be served to the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days of the close pass.
    • The incident needs to be reported to the courts within 6 months

    Obviously, YMMV regarding reporting, but this report has been the smoothest of any incident (road traffic or otherwise) that I've reported.

    So, the tl;dr is: If you get a close pass, which you have video footage of, you should:

    1. Phone 101 to get an incident number, and say that you have the close pass form which you'll submit
    2. Complete the form (linked below)
    3. Deliver it (either via post or by hand) to Fettes

    Link, thanks to chrisf for hosting: http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/documents/Allegation_of_bad_driving-self_reporting_form_V1.1.doc

    Posted 11 months ago #
  2. Frenchy
    Member

    Good info, thanks.

    I've used that form without success in the past, although my process would have been:

    1. Phone 101.
    2. Get appointment with local officer a few days later, who view the footage and give me the form.
    3. Send form to Fettes.
    4. Possibly hear back saying "Sorry, not this time".

    Cutting out step 2 will save a lot of time and effort, for both victims and police officers.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  3. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    Agreed - that basically exactly what happened the last time I used this form (I'm not sure if it was the same form, it may have been an earlier version or something completely different) - it took 3 days for officers to take a statement, then they took another 3 or 4 days to speak to the driver, and only then did they give me the form. I handed it in, and was told that it was now too late to take action and I needed to continue with the officers who were handling it (who of course did nothing in the end).

    Another important point is that you must not have a "disproportionate reaction" - which I take to mean that swearing because of the pass is ok (which other officers have told me I can't do), but going after the driver and talking to them isn't (which I usually do).
    Hopefully if close passes are taken more seriously, I won't feel compelled to talk to the driver at all, and instead just hand the video of the pass over to the police and let them charge the driver.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  4. Frenchy
    Member

    Hmm, I presumed the police's definition of "disproportionate reaction" included swearing.

    The "We can't charge them with careless driving because you said a naughty word when they almost killed you" remains the most annoying and confusing aspect to reporting close passes.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  5. Kenny
    Member

    Ooh, interesting... I took my GoPro mount off the commuter a long time ago because the coppers never did anything unless the vehicle caused me physical injury. Might go find it and put it back on...

    Posted 11 months ago #
  6. Murun Buchstansangur
    Member

    Thanks ECC - how did you submit your footage under this new(?) process?

    Posted 11 months ago #
  7. Murun Buchstansangur
    Member

    The only thing I'd say about that form is that it requires a huge effort on the part of the complainant (to the extent that is a de facto statement as would usually be taken by the police in person) for something the police may NFA after one cursory viewing.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  8. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    @Frenchy in my case, I said "F*ing hell!" loudly, but didn't shout it, immediately as they passed - so it was obvious that it was a reaction to the pass and not me shouting abuse at the driver - I'd guess that the police don't want the cyclist to be shouting a directed insult at the driver, maybe.
    I've also heard the same feedback on other close pass reports (made to officers, not via this form) - "Because you swore, we can't charge the driver because it's not a cut and dry close pass". As usual, I think it's probably a bit foggy - but worth reporting via the form (if you can be bothered) even if you do shout at the driver, IMO.

    @Murun Buchstansangur - I handed over two DVDs with the unedited video on them (3.5GB per video because it's uncompressed 4K video), and also the edited (clipped) copy of the footage in a couple of codecs in case they were unable to open the originals.
    EDIT: I mean a data DVD, not a DVD-video.

    And yes, it took about 60-90 minutes for me to fill the form in, it's certainly not quick. However, that's about the same amount of time a police officer would need to spend to do the same thing, and it at least appears that there's a better chance of it being taken seriously this way.

    It turns out that the officer dealing with my close pass is actually the guy that runs the roads policing Twitter account, which is interesting!

    Posted 11 months ago #
  9. ejstubbs
    Member

    @Frenchy: The "We can't charge them with careless driving because you said a naughty word when they almost killed you" remains the most annoying and confusing aspect to reporting close passes.

    Agreed, it's nonsense. If someone came at you with a knife and you told them to <rule 2> off as you ran away, would that mean that it wasn't assault?

    I usually have audio recording turned off on my GoPro clone, partly for this reason. Knowing my luck that would be ruled as somehow invalidating the video as evidence.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  10. Kenny
    Member

    Can you not just edit the audio of the video afterwards, maybe overwriting the audio with some kind of rustling sound, and thus making it inaudible?

    Or maybe that's tampering with evidence. I'm a default naughty boy, it seems.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  11. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    @Kenny you could remove the audio entirely, that would be far less obvious (but yes, still tampering with evidence)

    Posted 11 months ago #
  12. ARobComp
    Member

    Does it have to be supplied on a DVD?

    Posted 11 months ago #
  13. Frenchy
    Member

    No, but I would only use something you're not fussed about getting back. Whilst you should be able to get a USB drive back from them, it's not guaranteed.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  14. neddie
    Member

    Whilst you should be able to get a USB drive back from them, it's not guaranteed.

    And would you feel safe plugging it back into your own machine, knowing what the police IT dept is probably like?

    (Not being paranoid here, it's the risk of computer viruses I'd be concerned about)

    Posted 11 months ago #
  15. Frenchy
    Member

    Actually, my last post was wrong, apologies - they've specifically told me before before that they need it on CD/DVD, because they're also worried about viruses.

    Although I'm sure I have lost a USB drive to them before anyway.

    Posted 11 months ago #
  16. Kenny
    Member

    @Kenny you could remove the audio entirely, that would be far less obvious (but yes, still tampering with evidence)

    Ah true, but that's far less tampering and no way to identify that it had been removed after the piece. GoPro mount searching begins!

    Posted 11 months ago #
  17. Kenny
    Member

    they need it on CD/DVD, because they're also worried about viruses

    Ah ok that's right, because it's impossible to put a virus on a CD/DVD.

    /s

    Lord save us all. How can the people who are supposed to be protecting us be so terrible at protecting themselves?

    Posted 11 months ago #
  18. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    Something to add to my original instructions - make sure the form is addressed to "FAO Edinburgh Road Policing".

    I handed in another form last week, and the officer at the desk seemed to have no idea what to do with it (The form just says to deliver it to Fettes). He asked me what he should do with it, and I said that last time it went to a road traffic officer. He said "So I send it upstairs?", to which I replied "I don't know."

    After hearing nothing for a week, I e-mailed the officer dealing with my original close pass to ask if he could check it had been received, and he got back to me (very quickly, again) to say that it's been sent off to my local station for assignment to an officer.

    ARGH. The whole point in the form is that it gets handed in at Fettes for a road traffic officer to look at. No doubt it'll now get passed over to a regular officer who won't know what to do with it, and it'll either time out before the NIP can be sent (3 more days from now), or the officer will say the usual "Well you weren't hit, so there's nothing we can do."
    On the plus side, the RPU officer says he's e-mailed the Sergeant the form has been sent to, to ask them to get in touch with me ASAP, so hopefully they'll know that time is of the essence.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  19. Murun Buchstansangur
    Member

    Can we defund Polis Scotland and get Northumbria in to do the job properly?

    https://road.cc/content/news/police-force-says-8-10-close-pass-videos-acted-upon-278793

    Posted 8 months ago #
  20. Roibeard
    Member

    From article But we still don’t see a large number of submissions from vulnerable road users and this week we want to appeal to cyclists to submit more footage.

    Wow.

    Robert

    Posted 8 months ago #
  21. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    An update on my second incident reported via the close pass form (the one in my previous comment) - I just got a call from an officer at my local station who apologised for taking so long (I assumed it'd gone into the void, actually), and said that they're planning to charge the driver with careless driving.

    On the form I said I'd be happy with a driver improvement course this time, but the officer I spoke to said that she'd spoken to her Sargent, and he'd advised charging them with careless driving - I presume because it's easier to go from careless driving to a driver improvement course than the reverse.

    So - so far, that's two for two for the close pass form!

    @Murun Buchstansangur - the RPU officers are apparently very good and know what they're doing, it's just difficult to get anything to them - which is what the close pass form tries to achieve.

    Posted 8 months ago #
  22. Tulyar
    Member

    Just picked up this from Living Streets - the number of traffic officers for the whole of Police Scotland is now less that the number of traffic officers with Strathclyde Police when the forces were merged into one force

    The crowd sourcing of this resource, capturing bad driving where the Police coverage has been reduced might be somethigt to highlight in a response to the consultation on Scottish Roads Policing - oh & enforcement of Section 129.6 of Roads Scotland Act 1984

    Posted 8 months ago #
  23. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    Another update.

    I've used the form 4 times now, though the last two have been not quite as smooth.

    The second to last time, I was told that the form has been altered and isn't the correct form, and I shouldn't be contacting the RPU directly, since they don't have the resources to follow up on every close pass if they were all reported to them directly. That officer asked who told me that I should contact the RPU, and I explained that I was given the form by a local officer, and that another RPU officer had told me to follow the process that I had. He told me to not use the form any more, and to contact local officers, but that he'd follow through with the report anyway.

    On Friday I had another stupid close pass which annoyed me enough to report, and I decided to use the form again - since I'd been told once to use the form and once not to, and thought maybe the RPU officer who contacted me was incorrect.
    This morning I was phoned by an RPU Sargent, who also told me not to use the form - apparently the address that the form should be returned to is wrong; the one of the form I have says to return to the RPU at Fettes, the correct form says to return to local officers.

    I chatted to that officer for a bit, and clarified what the correct process should be, which is:

    1. Phone 101 to report the incident, and request a diary appointment (standard procedure for reporting any incident to 101)
    2. Complete the form and provide the footage to the officers. Usually that means burning to disc or USB drive, but the police may be able to provide a drive for you
    3. When officers arrive for the diary appointment, hand them the completed form


    For providing the footage, a DVD-ROM disc is preferred in my experience, if you give them a USB drive, you might never see it again, or you can expect to wait in the order of a year to get it back. I've heard that the police can also provide a USB drive for you, but I've never explored that route myself.
    Given previous experience, I'd also strongly recommend explaining that there's an extremely tight time limit on close pass reports, and they must send the Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within 14 days of the incident, and I'd also ask them to please contact one of their RPU colleagues if they have any questions about that - I've been told by local officers that they don't need to send NIPs unless it's for specific incidents like speeding, which is completely wrong.
    If the NIP isn't sent within 14 days, there's absolutely nothing that can be done - it doesn't matter if the driver passed you with 1cm of space, going 100 mph, there's legally nothing that can be done if the 14 days has expired.

    This is the version of the form which I was sent by the RPU Sargent: Allegation of Bad Driving - Op Close Pass Reporting Form.docx

    Posted 3 months ago #
  24. Frenchy
    Member

    Complete the form and burn the footage to disc(s)

    Interestingly, Dave Brennan was tweeting just yesterday that he's been told this isn't necessary - the police can bring a pen drive if you ask them to.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  25. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    Ah, good point - I've updated my post, thanks!

    I've never heard of the police giving you a stick to use, but I have been told you can provide your own USB drive - if you don't mind them losing it, or not getting it back until the incident has been fully resolved, which could take a year.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  26. chdot
    Admin

    @CllrChasBooth asks re #OpClosePass in
    #BusinessBulletin (agenda item 6.1)

    https://twitter.com/spokeslothian/status/1385169607019925505

    Posted 3 months ago #
  27. Dave
    Member

    It's mad that you can't submit digital evidence digitally, at least for triage. I could imagine a specialist officer looking through a ton of videos quickly, they flag the ones that look prosecutable and then a diary appt is made for a statement and pick up the raw footage. You could use the same thing for e.g. dashcam or CCTV / doorbell footage of local misdeeds.

    Posted 3 months ago #
  28. EdinburghCycleCam
    Member

    Indeed - I was told that it can't be done because the courts IT systems can't accept digital evidence, and it'd be prohibitively expensive for the police to burn all the submissions to disc - but I also don't see why they can't do as you suggested, and get the public to provide the video if they agree it's worthy of prosecution.

    Magnatom has a Twitter thread which touches on this, here: https://twitter.com/magnatom/status/1384956685303881731

    Posted 3 months ago #
  29. gembo
    Member

    This happened in Wales with cyclist submitting footage of biker pulling wheelie at speed.

    Biker would have got off I think but he tried to say wusnae me. So went to jail for perverting course of justice

    Posted 3 months ago #

RSS feed for this topic

Reply

You must log in to post.


Video embedded using Easy Video Embed plugin