High-tech cameras to snap more criminals
A 4x4 vehicle passes under a CCTV camera and triggers a hit on a police computer having previously gone through a speed camera in Surrey and been flagged as a possible 'clone plates'. Within minutes of the CCTV reading, the vehicle is stopped by police and the driver arrested.
Seems futuristic? It's not though: this incident was one of 13,000 made by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology trialed in 23 police forces over the last year. And it's not all about motoring. Following a search in the incident related above, several offensive weapons and class A drugs were recovered. Furthermore, the chassis number on the vehicle could not be found on PNC. The driver was arrested and a search of his home led to the recovery of more drugs, a pump action shotgun and another stolen 4x4 vehicle.
Following many such successes, the government have given the technology a £15 million boost, Home Secretary David Blunkett announced yesterday.
The high tech camera systems have already proved their worth returning an arrest rate nine times higher than the police national average. £8 million worth of drugs and property were seized during a year-long pilot of the automatic number plate recognition technology in 23 police forces.
ANPR instantly scans vehicle number plates and matches them against information stored against police databases to identify stolen vehicles or those involved in crime. Once identified by the system, suspicious vehicles are intercepted by the police and their drivers questioned.
The scheme has been piloted in 23 areas and results published today show its overwhelming success.
The £15 million cash boost will help expand the scheme to other police forces. It will also fund the creation of a national data centre to exchange ANPR-read data from across the UK for post-incident investigation and to support work to tackle terrorism and organised crime.
Mr Blunkett said: "ANPR is a powerful tool, unique in its ability to impact on crime at every level, from local volume crime through cross-border and organised crime and counter terrorism. It brings enormous benefits to the police and to society."
"[The system's] impact goes far beyond the roads - thousands of arrests were made for theft, burglary and drugs offences."
Since June 2003, forces have been able to recycle revenue from fixed penalties detected by ANPR technology to part-finance the expansion of the system, meaning that those who breach the law pay for its policing. In the first nine months of operation, £1 million was raised which helped improve the intelligence capability of ANPR teams, and contributed to administrative support.
================================================At last the police using Camera's to fight crime and NOT to pick on motorists