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New funding will help Devon and Cornwall Police use cyclists' headcam footage

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall has welcomed a government strategy aimed at making walking and cycling safer.

The Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy is designed to contribute to making UK roads safer and to protect vulnerable road users.

Published on Thursday, November 22, it comes as part of a package of measures during BRAKE Road Safety Week (19-25 November).

Last year in Britain 1,793 people lost their lives due to road traffic collisions, with many more suffering serious and life changing injuries. In Devon and Cornwall 63 people died on the roads in 2017, almost double the figure from 2016.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez, who holds the national portfolio for road safety, has been campaigning this week on road safety after launching her own strategy aimed at reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“I am pleased that the Government has looked at the dangers faced on our roads by cyclists and pedestrians,” she said.

“These are some of our most vulnerable road users and should be better protected from vehicles and dangerous drivers.

“The new action plans announced by the Government this week will provide a much needed closer focus on the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.”

Other measures in the Government’s announcement included a cash boost to assist the police in managing helmet/dashcam footage submitted by cyclists, motorists and horse riders. The scheme, known as Operation Snap, originated in Wales and has been introduced in several police force areas.

It is proven to be a productive and cost effective way to address some of the poor driving behaviours displayed by dangerous motorists.

Recently Alison met Road Safety Minister Jesse Norman to discuss the project and was pleased to see it given support and funding from central Government.

“The wider roll out of Op Snap will enable the police to increase enforcement, remove dangerous motorists from the road and protect vulnerable road users including cyclists and horse riders.” she said.

Although she welcomed the Government’s measures the police chief feels more could be done.

“Education and raising awareness of dangerous driving are important but enforcement has to be part of the solution,” she said.

“I want the Government to explore the possibility of raising fines for speeding and some other traffic offences with the caveat that this increase (or the majority of it) is retained by police forces for reinvestment in road safety measures and enforcement.

“It is absurd that a fine for littering from a car window carries a higher fine than speeding. This is something I will be taking up with Government.

“The public will also welcome the additional powers to be made available to local authorities to enforce the illegal parking in cycle lanes by motorists, without the need for the police to witness the offence themselves. This will both free up police time and ensure those who thoughtlessly flout these safety rules will be held accountable.”