A utomatic

N umber

P late

R ecognition

ANPR = Automatic Number Plate Recognition. This explains what we mean in our section on parking restrictions where we suggest that you always assume that you are being watched.

How Does ANPR Work?

ANPR works by a camera being connected to a computer. When a vehicle passes that camera it automatically captures an image of that vehicle and also ‘reads’ the vehicles VRM (Vehicle Registration Mark – number plate).

Currently, there are approximately 9000 cameras within the UK network, which capture between 25 and 40 million records per day. Data is retained for up to 2 years meaning that there are approximately 20 billion read records available at any one time.

On average, in the UK, there is a fixed camera positioned along every 27 miles of road (approximately) and a single camera can cover several lanes of traffic.

What is ANPR Used For?

Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology is used to help detect, deter and disrupt criminality at a local, regional and national level, including tackling travelling criminals, organised crime groups and terrorists.

ANPR provides lines of enquiry and evidence in the investigation of crime and is used by law enforcement agencies throughout the UK.

Besides these examples of serious crime, ANPR can, and is used to tackle motoring offences.

Police Vehicle Cameras

As well as fixed cameras, many police vehicles are equipped with ANPR cameras, which allow them to quickly detect vehicles on the road that may be driving illegally. Besides the more obvious speeding offences, they can focus on vehicles on the road that:

  • Are driving without tax. (This is why you no longer need to display a tax disc).
  • Do not have any insurance.
  • Are registered to someone with previous convictions (e.g. drug offences).

Police officers can set the system up to focus on any one of the above issues, or in combination. Once set however, detections are automatic (as in the ‘A’ in ANPR).

Back to Rules and Regulations.

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