Monday, 12 November 2012

Sharing videos with Roadsafe

On the 14/07/2011, I posted a video on youtube of the driver of a black BMW, registration number YE54 0KV (YE540KV) overtaking me, at a point that was far too close to a central road island, and being forced to go the wrong side of it.  At the same time, I reported him via the Met's roadsafe website.

The video is available here:

You'll note that in my intro to the video, I labelled the driver a Numpty.  This is because I think it's quite clear that he is one.  The officer at the met who reviewed my video got back to me to let me know that they were unable to take any action against the driver as "Unfortunately, due to the mildly insulting comments you have added to the title and content of the video, I am unable to take any further action with regards to this matter. The Metropolitan Police cannot be seen to be endorsing such comments in any way.".  They also warned me that I "leave yourself open to being sued by the driver through the civil courts for slander / defamation by posting such comments about him in the public domain."

I've looked up the definition of "numpty" in the OED, it gives us two possibilities:
  • Noun - A stupid or foolish person; an idiot.
  • Adjective - Esp. of a person: stupid, foolish, idiotic.
I think that the driving in the video is all three, stupid, foolish and idiotic, and stand by my use of the word as such, but I'll let you decide if I'm right or not.

I did however, want to ensure that any further footage I sent to them would be usable, so I asked for some guidance I could share.  I've held onto this myself for far too long, so here it is:

"Thanks for your interest, I have compiled a short list of points that would help both the RoadSafe unit and yourselves :-
First of all, don't engage with the driver / rider who's caused you the problem. It's far better just to record the video and post it. There is always the chance of a violent reaction and we would rather you avoided this where possible. If you should get into an argument with someone, remember that everything you say is being recorded by your camera. We have had cyclists submit videos where their language is unacceptable and they themselves have received a warning from us. 
Try to say the registration number for the camera audio to record. This helps you where the camera hasn't recorded a good enough image to read the plate later.
If you submit a video to us, it would be helpful if you could hold on to the original footage until you hear from us. If you get our standard reply, then you can delete the footage (or whatever you want to do with it). However, it may be that we decide to prosecute the driver and will require the original, unedited footage. You will be asked if you are willing to attend court before we proceed.
When posting the video to YouTube, Vimeo etc. Please don't post insulting comments about the driver. Try to keep it neutral, e.g." This driver overtook me on a blind bend, leaving two inches of space and scared the life out of me," not "this ***** idiot, ****ing nearly killed me, the ****" (I'll leave you to guess the blanks). Keeping it neutral presents you in a better light, gives nothing for a possible defence solicitor to work on and lastly, doesn't leave you open to a libel suit.
Please tag the video with the registration number, without spaces, e.g. AB12CDE. We can't click the links you provide as we have to move to a standalone computer - but please add the full link in case the registration is wrong.
If you post the video publicly, we will add the link to any letter we send out to the drivers. Therefore, you may wish to post the video in such a way that it isn't available to anyone and everyone. YouTube allows this and Vimeo can password protect a video. Or you could use your own web space if you have it. If you do this, please mention this on the RoadSafe submission and we won't include the link.
You will see lots of drivers committing lots of offences every day. We would really like to concentrate on the worst - those that draw your attention or cause you a problem and you really feel need some advice re their driving. The video you submitted is a superb example of this.
I hope this all helps,
PC Stuart Carey"
I'd like to thank PC Carey for this advice, and am just sorry I too so long to share it with people.  I hope you too find it useful!

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