North Wales Police are working with the communities of North Wales to help reduce risk on our roads.
What is Operation SNAP?
North Wales Police have been busy over the past few months bringing together Operation SNAP. This is our response to increasing submissions of video and photographic evidence relating to driving offences that members of the public have seen.
These reports have been coming into us in all sorts of ways. So we have developed a streamlined process to deal with them, which will hopefully make it easier for all involved. This is currently in its pilot phase.
Why has NWP launched Operation SNAP?
The current boom in dash cam use (or helmet/bike cams etc) means the public are capturing motoring offences including careless or dangerous driving and people being distracted whilst using smart devices.
We – the police – have adapted our systems to support you in reporting these matters. This is so we can, where appropriate, seek to educate or prosecute offenders using your footage and testimony, to influence their future behaviour and make the roads safer for us all.
Advice for Dash Cam Users
If you use a dash cam, please ensure you research where and how it should be placed so that you comply with the law in respect of any obscured view. Please also understand your responsibilities as a driver regarding distractions whilst driving. It is your responsibility as a driver to uphold the law – please do so. (Please note the police will not offer advice in this regard – it is your responsibility to comply with the law.)
If you have footage from a dash cam, cycle cam, head cam or any other source that you feel supports you as a witness to an alleged motoring offence, we want to hear from you. We recognise that the vast majority of the public want to use our roads to get from A to B safely. None of us wish to tolerate unnecessary risks caused by the actions of others.
Support for Vulnerable Road Users
North Wales Police also recognises that vulnerable road users are now using cameras. Cyclists, both pedal and motor, are vulnerable on our roads. We see some awful very close passes and people pulling in and out of junctions, putting cyclists in danger. The publically available figures speak for themselves – cyclists come off worse when they are in collision with a car. Often the car driver has taken an unnecessary risk, or didn’t see them.
We will not tolerate this and wish to support all road users, especially the most vulnerable, in having a safe journey. This includes taking positive action in respect of looking at your footage and witness testimony. We will work with you to seek prosecution when appropriate, so we can alter the behaviour of those who take unnecessary risks and put you in danger.
But we can only do a good job if your evidence can prove an offence in a court of law. We will need a witness statement from you that supports the video/photographic evidence you’ve got. You must be prepared to attend court if necessary. Don't worry - we will support you through this process.
So what do I need to do with my footage?
- Please take the time to fill in the web form. We ask you these questions for specific reasons so be sure to answer accurately.
- DO NOT post your footage on social media. If you have already done so please take it off immediately.
- We will respond to you with an email containing instructions of how to upload your footage to us.
- We will also send you a statement pro-forma for you to complete together with a guide.
- A police officer will review your evidence and take a decision on any action that is appropriate. You will be kept informed via email. If we decide to instigate proceedings our developed back-office systems kick in and we will process the offence.
Operation SNAP has the full support of North Wales Police, The Crown Prosecution Service and Road Safety Support. It has a single aim – to make our journeys on the roads of North Wales safer. Share the Road with Care.
Frequently Asked Questions (Click on the question for the answer)
I have footage on my device of someone on the telephone when driving. I would like it investigating. Will you take this on, if so what do I do? (Click for answer)
Yes. We are now in a position to fully support you and will take on the investigation. We have adapted our systems to ensure we have an efficient process. You need to fill in the Operation SNAP web form and then we will be in touch. The same goes for any other driving offence you wish to report that is supported by camera footage.
I’ve filled in the Operation SNAP web form, what happens now? (Click for answer)
The details you have provided go to a police officer who will evaluate your submission. You will receive emails with further instructions.
Shall I drop off my memory card/USB stick containing the footage, or will you pick it up? (Click for answer)
Neither of these. We need to view the footage. You will be able to upload it to a place where we can view it and this will help us make a decision. We will send you a link so that you can upload your footage. (This will work on mobile devices as well as laptops/PCs etc.)
Once I’ve uploaded the footage can I overwrite it and use the memory card as you’ve seen it then? (Click for answer)
No. You MUST preserve the original recording in its original state. Do not edit it or alter it in any way. Just keep it. If it’s on a memory card put it to one side and keep it safe. This is the original footage and it may be needed in the future. This is your evidence and your responsibility. We may have a need to see your complete journey or more footage either side of the matters you are reporting.
So if I have to keep the memory card to one side will the police give me a new one? (Click for answer)
No. The police do not replace witnesses’ exhibits with like items in any circumstances in any cases.
Will I have to give you a statement? (Click for answer)
Yes - this is essential. We have worked hard with other agencies to ensure we make this as easy as possible for you to complete. You will be sent a proforma statement, a guide to complete it and a sample statement so you can see what one looks like once complete. This is the evidence that we will use to support your video/photographic footage.
I’ve put my footage on social media, it’s getting lots of comments, can I ask you to take a look please? (Click for answer)
Please remove the footage from social media. Crown Prosecution Service advice is that your footage should not be in the public domain as this may adversely affect any subsequent proceedings. Please fill in the Operation SNAP web form and start the process with us.
Can't I just send you some screen shots from a video I have? They clearly show the offence I want to bring to your attention. (Click for answer)
No - we must see the video footage of the whole incident. We may also need to see more of your journey so that we can understand the context of what happened.
Do I need to have a date/time stamp on my video footage? If so, must this be exactly the right time? (Click for answer)
Ideally the date and time must be correct. The video footage is used to support your written witness testimony. You must account for any discrepancies in date/time within your witness evidence presented to us. Your witness statement must clearly state what time/date the incident occurred.
I want you to see the footage but don’t want to go to court. Can’t you just deal with it? (Click for answer)
We need your statement; we need to fully understand the situation and people have a right to have matters heard in a court of law. Please fill in the web form. We will be in touch and support you through the process.
So once you have my footage and statement what happens? (Click for answer)
We examine your evidence and we then process any offences that are disclosed. We have taken a lot of time to ensure we can do this well. A dedicated decision maker will instigate proceedings. We will need to serve notice upon the registered keeper of any vehicles and investigate who was driving.
My footage clearly shows someone committing a road traffic offence. What action will you take? (Click for answer)
We will find out who was driving (the owner of the vehicle must tell us who was driving, if they don’t they may be committing a criminal offence). We will notify them of the pending prosecution. Once they are engaged in the process we will make a decision on the outcome. This decision is made in exactly the same way as if the offence was witnessed by police and in line with current national guidelines. Realistically, once proceedings are underway there can be one of several outcomes:
- An educational input (an offer to attend a recognised national course at their expense). Please note there are strict rules that we operate to regarding the circumstances of an educational input. Only those eligible will be offered this as an alternative to prosecution.
- An offer of a fixed penalty notice – i.e. points and a fine.
- The option to appear in court.
Please note that the most serious offences do not carry options of education or fixed penalty, e.g. Dangerous Driving.
We will inform you of the progress and outcome of your case.
You’re asking the public to do the police’s job here. Why can’t you catch all these people breaking the law? (Click for answer)
We try our best with the resources we have. We have a determined and robust approach to policing our roads – we will take every opportunity to make them safer for us all. Rather than us asking you to do our job, we are trying to get ahead of the situation with the huge increase in use of personal video systems. Operation SNAP is not asking you to go out and detect offences for us, quite the opposite. We are ensuring that when you want to engage with us, we do the right thing and do it as best we can. We recognise that it’s been difficult to get it right with handling complaints of driving supported by video footage. We’ve taken time to put that right.
So you don’t want us to do your job – what are you doing then to capture these offences on video? (Click for answer)
All our Roads Policing cars, marked and unmarked, are fitted with video recording equipment. We make use of this all the time. We capture offences and deal with them as appropriate. We work in partnership with Local Authorities and other Welsh police forces within “Go-Safe”. The camera vans you see are not there just to catch people speeding. We capture all sorts of offences and deal with them: people using phones, people distracted by sending texts, people not wearing their seatbelts etc. They are there for our safety – we make good use of them. You’d be surprised how many people don’t see that Go-Safe van as they drive past distracted on their phone. Let’s hope that next time it’s not me or you they don’t see, we want those people off our roads!
What about cyclists and close passes – will you deal with them? (Click for answer)
Yes. North Wales Police has supported cyclists recently in this regard and we will continue to do so. Cyclists (pedal) are very vulnerable on our roads. If you have video footage of a close pass please fill in the web form for Operation SNAP. North Wales Police is an avid supporter of the 'Stay Alive at 1.5' campaign.
Are you going to put “undercover” cops out on push bikes, like other forces have, to catch drivers breaking the law by driving carelessly and putting cyclists at risk when overtaking? (Click for answer)
Yes. Our Roads Policing staff will be doing this and we will use exactly the same systems as any member of the public to deal with any offences. We use all sorts of tactics to detect offences, including the use of marked and unmarked patrol cars, marked and unmarked motor cycles. We are commissioning a van with video recording systems which we'll use primarily to detect distraction offences, including the high risk emerging trend of using smart devices when driving.
What about the cyclists breaking the law? If you're going to process people for careless driving by putting cyclists at risk, what about the cyclists who ignore red lights and cause risk with their riding? (Click for answer)
We will deal with all matters of careless/riding/cycling as best we can. It’s vital to remember that the vulnerable road users – those on foot, on cycles, (push and motor) and people riding horses – are at much greater risk of serious injury and death than those in cars. Our priority should always be to protect those most vulnerable.
If the police and everyone else is going to start taking action over all these people caught on camera, can the police cope? (Click for answer)
Yes. It’s easy for people to engage in Operation SNAP and our processes have been designed to run smoothly. Operation SNAP has one desired outcome. That is making our roads safer. We want people to get from A to B without injury. Nothing more and nothing less.
Those people who are prepared to risk their lives and the lives of others are not welcome on our roads. If those people know there is a bigger chance of being prosecuted and losing their licence then maybe they will think twice and not make that call. Not answer that text. Not update their status or stick a “thumbs up” to a dancing kitten whilst driving.
Ideally, we don’t want to educate or prosecute anybody – we want people to go about their business unhindered and safely. Let’s hope Operation SNAP deters people from taking the risk. If it does, our (that’s all of us) job is done – we all get to where we are going safely and there will be no work load to cope with.
I think I’ve been reported by someone using Operation SNAP. What should I do? (Click for answer)
Engage with us. We seek only one thing – that is, if we can, to influence your future behaviour so that our roads are safer.