First dangerous driver to be banned because of Spartan ‘snitching’ scheme
Would you shop a fellow motorist for driving dangerously? That’s exactly what North Yorkshire Police has been encouraging drivers to do as part of its “Operation Spartan” – aiming to improve driving standards and increase road safety.
The force wants people to send them video footage of dangerous drivers, saying it will “take the appropriate course of action”. In Marc Hyland’s case, that’s exactly what it has done.
The 25-year-old was caught by a lorry driver’s dashcam performing an “irresponsible” and “incredibly dangerous” overtake in his Vauxhall Insignia on a single carriageway.
The downright dangerous manoeuvre saw him cross solid white lines and veer onto the wrong side of the road, passing stationary cars that were waiting to turn right as he went.
The result for Hyland was a 12-week suspended prison sentence and a 20-month driving ban. He also had to pay court costs of £157 and was given 250 hours of unpaid work.
Commenting on the case, Zoe Billings from the Major Collision Investigation Unit said: “This is the first prosecution which is a direct result of the public reporting through the online driver concern form and we are pleased with the Hyland’s sentence.”
Elsewhere, opinions on the scheme are mixed with some arguing that it will lead to “vigilantism”. Godfrey Bloom, patron for the Alliance of British Drivers commented: "You need a team of unmarked police cars, properly equipped with cameras, so you can make a proper prosecution to deter dangerous and bad driving."
But the force insist that the idea is a supplement, rather than a replacement for services. Billings added: “This is Operation Spartan in practice – we realise that with over 6,000 miles of roads to police, officers cannot be everywhere policing every mile – but members of the public can be our eyes and ears.”
It seems the trend is catching on. Other forces such as North Wales Police are encouraging similar sorts of schemes too, but do you think it will work? Would you shop a fellow driver for a reckless manoeuvre?