ANPR Frequently Asked Questions

Automatic Number Plate Recognition Frequently Asked Questions :-

General FAQs

How is it used?
ANPR technology, coupled with immediate follow-up police action has the potential to deny criminals the use of the roads. ANPR is an enormously effective operational tool which allows the police to target known offenders. Officers engaged on ANPR operations arrest significantly more offenders than patrol officers would in the normal course of their duties.
Who is it used by?
Every force in the UK as well as An Garda Síochána use ANPR, this intelligence-led policing tool is fast becoming a core policing activity.
What is it currently being used for?
ANPR is an invaluable tool in the campaign to make our roads safer. There is an ambitious programme of crime reduction measures, harnessing the power of this technology to drive down crime. By denying criminals the use of the road, the police will be better able to enforce the law, prevent crime and detect offenders. ANPR can assist casualty reduction by removing uninsured, unsafe vehicles and drivers from our roads.
Won't this take police away from work they should be doing, like catching murderers and rapists?
Far from taking police away from catching criminals, ANPR is an effective policing tool that can be used in the detection of criminals and in crime reduction generally. It is known that motoring offences are often associated with other crime. Experience has shown that stopping vehicles where a motoring offence has been committed, often leads to arrests for more serious offences. ANPR has become a valuable tool in fighting crime and will deny criminals the use of the roads.
Isn't this going to take 'police' off the beat?
No. The policing of our streets are not affected by the use of ANPR. In fact, high-visibility policing is enhanced by ANPR operations. The overt nature of ANPR operations and the associated policing activity is generally welcomed as its use leads to increased crime detection and arrests.
How is this going to help police fight crime?
Experience with ANPR has revealed very strong links between the use of motor vehicles on the road and criminality. The wider use of ANPR has led to the arrest and conviction of criminals for offences other than those motoring offences for which they have been stopped. This is a valuable tool in the fighting of crime more generally.
Will you be publishing where ANPR devices will be sited?
No, this would defeat the purpose of them, criminals would avoid these areas. If motorists are law abiding, they need have no concerns as to where these devices may be sited.
Are you able to identify the driver of a vehicle from these cameras?
The collection of data and camera setup is such that rarely is any image of sufficient quality to provide identification of vehicle occupants, the identification of vehicle occupants is not what the system is designed or used for. The primary aim and focus is to read the vehicle registration number

Policing the Roads

Isn't this just another attack on the poor motorist?
Vehicles will only be stopped if records suggest that some form of road traffic offence has been committed or there is a known police interest. Using ANPR, law-abiding citizens are less likely to be stopped by the police.
Won't this lead to police chases and endanger innocent drivers?
The safety of road users and officers is our primary concern. Units will be located where it is possible for the police to intercept vehicles without undue risk to other motorists in general. In ANPR operations, safe stopping techniques are used and can be a planned part of the operation, as opposed to chance sightings of offenders by patrol officers. There should be no increased risk to the average road user.
Is this another type of speed camera?
No. ANPR focuses on improving road safety, preventing/detecting crimes and is not a means for detecting speeding offences.

Human Rights

Isn't this the beginnings of a `Big Brother' state?
Criminals are becoming increasingly more sophisticated in their activities; therefore, the police need to update their crime-fighting methods. The technology used will alert the police if there are legitimate concerns that the law has been broken; it will do little more than that. ANPR allows the police to focus on those who break the law. This means that people lawfully using our roads will do so unhindered by the police. There are very strict management processes in place to ensure that ANPR data is only used for legitimate policing purposes.
Does ANPR Infringe my Human Rights?
No. ANPR, in fact enhances the human rights of law-abiding citizens by providing additional security though assisting the police to target criminals. It also enhances the freedom of movement of law-abiding citizens by only targeting the criminal element, thereby leaving other people who use the roads lawfully and safely, to travel unhindered by the police.
How can we be sure that innocent motorists will not have their details recorded or will not be stopped?
ANPR acts as a search tool. It’s only where a vehicle is of interest to the police because a motoring offence is noted, or there is other known criminal activity associated with it, that a vehicle would be stopped.

ANPR supports the police to:

  • Disrupt criminal use of motor vehicles
  • Locate and recover stolen vehicles
  • Prevent and detect crime
  • Arrest offenders
  • Identify and prosecute offenders using illegal, un-insured and un-taxed vehicles