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Following the increased use of helmet-cameras by cyclists to record their commutes to work, I thought I’d ask the Met police how many films it was being sent – and how often this resulted in a prosecution.

It followed the comments by Jeremy Vine in which he talked of his reasons for using two helmet-cams – front- and rear-facing – as he cycled to work at the BBC.

The Met confirmed it did receive footage . Alas, it does not count each instance – meaning it has no idea how many films it is being sent, or indeed whether they are worthwhile…

Here’s the reply to my freedom of information request:

Dear Mr. Lydall

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2015080000300

I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 05/08/2015.  I note you seek access to the following information:

  • Please can you provide me with information relating to the action you take on receiving video camera footage – probably recorded by cyclists wearing “helmet cams” or using cameras attached to bikes – of road incidents and/or collisions. Please can you tell me:
  • 1. How many videos you have been sent?
  • 2. How many cases have resulted in prosecution of a motorist?
  • 3. How many cases have resulted in a warning to a motorist?
  • 4. How many cases have resulted in no police action?
  • 5. Whether the Met police welcomes the submission of helmet-cam footage and would encourage the public to continue to supply it?
  • 6. How these figures compare to other prosecutions for road-related offences mounted following the receipt of other camera footage eg from TfL cameras or fixed-location CCTV cameras. If possible, please provide annual figures since the launch of the Met’s RoadSafe London campaign. If this is not feasible, please provide figures for the two most recent years. Please also indicate where possible the nature and outcome of any prosecutions.

This letter is to inform you that it will not be possible to respond to your request within the cost threshold.

Unfortunately, we are unable to supply the definitive details of the number of video camera footage incidents that have been recorded by cyclists wearing “helmet cams” or using cameras attached to bikes – of road incidents and/or collisions. Much as we do receive such footages, the actual numbers received and incidents involving them is not separately recorded. Hence, there is no specific information held. The IT system that we use does not allow us to report it in the manner you require. We can however confirm that for the calendar year 2013/14 and 2014/15, the MPS recorded a total of 134,879 collision cases alone, although please note that this figure does not include “process cases” (i.e. officer stop).

To obtain the statistical data you have requested, we would need to perform a manual search on our summons package and case files, and to physically examine the 134,879 collision cases; plus the thousands of process records held . In this respect, it has been estimated that each manual search would take an average of 15 minutes per case; this would include locating, retrieving and extracting the data to establish all or at least most of the specific questions posed in your request.

 We estimate that the cost of complying with this request would exceed the appropriate limit. The appropriate limit has been specified in regulations and for agencies outside central Government; this is set at £450.00.   This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 18 hours [at a rate of £25 per hour] in determining whether the MPS holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information.

For the Question 6, we can comment that the MPS welcomes any evidence from the general public to support any type of prosecution.

Therefore in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, this letter acts as a Refusal Notice.

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