Automatic Number Plate Recognition, or ANPR, is becoming increasingly common across the country, and indeed across the world. It is used for a variety of purposes by councils, authorities, police, and private companies and organisations. It can effectively track cars as they make any journey and can pinpoint their location virtually anywhere and at any time. While there has been some controversy surrounding its use, the fact is that there are already thousands of ANPR enabled cameras set up in towns, cities, and in the countryside.
The police regularly use ANPR cameras because they can instantly identify any vehicle and can be used to determine whether the registered keeper of that vehicle has outstanding warrants or is driving without insurance for the vehicle. Cameras can be situated in police cars, vans, and at the roadside and are usually able to identify number plates in front or to the side of them.
Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras are also being installed on motorways and in towns and cities across the country. The main purpose for these cameras is to track and identify vehicles. The aim is to develop a network of many thousands of cameras throughout the country so that every vehicle is essentially under constant surveillance.
Traffic Management Systems
Congestion management and traffic management systems can be integrated effectively with number plate recognition. Cars can be monitored without having to stop at toll booths or other points to pay a congestion charge. The credentials of the vehicle and driver can be checked, including whether congestion charges are fully up to date. The system can help traffic to keep flowing and to minimise congestion and delays.
Parking is another area to benefit from Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Private car parks can log the entry and exit time of vehicles making it possible to itemise the use of the car park or to monitor the amount of time each car remains. ANPR can be used by private car parks as well as those around government buildings and other important locations for security purposes too.
Private organisations including petrol stations can and do benefit from Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Cashiers can be warned if a driver has previously stolen petrol from another forecourt or if they are flagged as having been previously unable to pay for their petrol. A central database logs and registers number plates of cars that visit petrol stations making them easier to police and manage.