THE NEWS COMMENT: Police should act on headcam evidence of poor driving

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Doubtless there will be those who think the police are justified in not prosecuting drivers who cut up cyclists or overtake them too closely.

After all, motorists will see and perhaps record with a dashcam instances of dreadful driving and near-misses every day.

Fine, they will say: nobody’s been hurt; cyclists take their chances on our roads like anyone else so why waste public money on what might be deemed frivolous prosecutions?

But perhaps those drivers have never cycled on the roads around Portsmouth; taken their lives in their hands simply by attempting to turn right, left or cross a junction with no more than a helmet for protection.

Perhaps they have never experienced a speeding car passing inches from them and then violently pulling in front – cutting them up – as if they were invisible.

As we report today, the West Midlands force has prosecuted more than 250 drivers for careless driving based on video footage from cyclists’ headcams. Hampshire refuses to follow suit unless there has been an injury, repeated bad driving or links to other crime.

We live in an era of savage budget cuts to police forces. Yes, Hampshire Constabulary must prioritise what it investigates, but we think it’s worth it going down the West Midlands’ path even if it’s only for an experimental period.

The issue has a potentially sinister side too. We also live in an era dominated by social media – Facebook, Twitter and the like.

If the police do nothing there is every chance hacked-off cyclists will take matters into their own hands and relentlessly hound online who they perceive to be careless drivers, regardless of whether they are guilty or not.