Riding with cameras, a deep dive: Part 3 – Operation Snap FAQ – What, why and how?

Many people over recent years have taken to riding with a camera mounted to their bike or helmet for evidential and protection reasons after receiving close passes and the occasional SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You).

Few people want to but some feel it necessary should one day “something” might happen.

What is Op Snap?

The official line is:

Operation SNAP is a police response to the ever increasing submissions of video and photographic evidence from members of the public in relation to witnessed driving offences.

Essentially, Op Snap is a way for the police forces in Wales to create an easy method for road users of all shapes and sizes to easily submit evidence of motoring offences. The operation is run by the charity GoSafe on the police’s behalf but should a warning or prosecution go forward from your evidence a PC from the force where the incident took place will take it on and deal with it.

You visit a website, fill out a form, upload your photos and/or videos and you’re done. You won’t be visited by an officer, you won’t be interviewed, or have any further involvement. The only exception to this is if a case goes to court you may be asked to present your evidence, but we’ll get to that later.

Why do we need Op Snap?

The principle here is that police forces in the UK are currently underfunded, with estimates that there are around 20,000 fewer officers on the beat than there was in 2010. Given the officers that are on the beat can’t be everywhere at once and with the quality and proliferation of dash cameras and action cameras on the rise Op Snap is a method for police forces to maintain enforcement on motoring offences without necessarily having the officers out there themselves. Think crowd funding for evidence.

How do I submit to Op Snap?

There are many types of camera, methods of mounting it, and uses for it. GoPro, Cycliq, and Contour are popular brands. Handlebars, seatposts, and helmets are popular places to mount cameras and each will capture different things better than others. For example, a rear facing camera on your seatpost may not capture drivers using their phones very whilst driving as well as a helmet camera might, but will capture close passes very well.

Even if you don’t have an action camera or dash camera, mobile phone video/photo evidence is fine too. I know someone who submitted evidence of a driver using their phone whilst driving he took on his own phone whilst walking down the pavement!

If you’ve captured footage offence, now is the time to head to https://gosafesnap.wales/ and fill out the form. You’ll need to fill out the form, and upload the photo and video evidence you’ve taken. For each incident/offence, you need to fill out the form and supply your details, the details of the offence you witnessed, etc.

Your videos don’t need to be huge, or have tonnes of pre/post incident footage. For example, I’ve submitted a couple of videos that were just 5 seconds long because that’s all that was relevant. So long as your evidence is clear, shows the offence, and the number plate of the vehicle(s) involved; that’s all that matters.

A driver talks into their phone with one hand whilst driving
Someone talks into their phone with one hand whilst behind the wheel of a car

What should I do, and what shouldn’t I do with my evidence?

  • Do trim videos down to show only the relevant section of footage. A few seconds or minutes is all that’s needed.
  • Do not edit your footage in any other way. Doing so could risk your evidence being dismissed if a jury believes it has been edited in a way that could influence how it is perceived.
  • Do not post your evidence online, including on social media. Doing so could risk your evidence being dismissed or could influence jurors who may have seen it prior to a trial (should it get that far).
  • Do be as thorough as possible with details in your written statement. Location and a detailed description of what took place, what your saw, and when is important to back up your video/photo evidence. You may also have seen or heard something the camera may not have picked up on it’s own.
  • Do be willing to attend court if the police ask you to! The repeat offenders and the worst offenders are also the ones who will try to deny any wrongdoing when caught. These are the people we need protection from.
  • Do not wait too long before submitting your footage, the police are required notify suspected offenders that they may be prosecuted within 14 days of the offence taking place. They’ll receive a NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) – the purpose of this is to inform a potential defendant that they may be prosecuted for an offence, whilst the incident is still fresh in their memory.

Got any more questions, head over to the OpSnap FAQ page or post a comment below and we’ll try to help!

In Part 4 we’ll look at exactly how you can trim your footage down, plus mop up any other questions you may have. If you’ve missed them, you can find Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

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