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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 14:33 GMT
High-tech police arrest 106
Car registration plate
The equipment scans vehicle registration plates
More than 100 people have been arrested across the North West in an operation using technology which recognises car number plates.

Officers have used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to target both people and vehicles involved in crime, and prevent terrorism.

The system scans registration plates and checks them against police databases.

The forces involved in Operation Atlanta - Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and north Wales - have arrested 106 people.

Terrorism threat

The arrests include 27 people in Greater Manchester, 40 in Lancashire, 14 across Merseyside, 17 in Cheshire, one in Cumbria and in seven in north Wales.

The ANPR system can highlight stolen vehicles, or those involved in crime, but does not monitor speed.

Chief Inspector Ian Lomas, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Criminals and terrorists are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their activities.

"ANPR allows officers to target vehicles of interest to them which are on the roads.

"Officers can then speak to the occupants and gather information for intelligence purposes.

"We hope this operation reassures people living, working and using the roads in the North West that the police are serious about targeting criminals and preventing crime and threat of terrorism."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Dave Guest
"One of Atlanta's main aims was to act as a anti-terrorism operation"
See also:

16 Dec 02 | England
11 Dec 02 | England
01 Sep 01 | UK
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