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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 06:36 GMT
Number plate scan nets criminals
Number plate
Drivers are only checked if they are suspected of committing an offence
A system that scans the number plates of cars on the move has helped catch more than 1,000 criminals since it was launched in Lancashire.

The automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is used across the UK to help police forces find vehicles which have been stolen or involved in crimes.

The Lancashire force say 70 persistent offenders have been caught using ANPR, and more than half have been sentenced.

Stolen vehicles worth 350,000 have also been recovered since June 2003.

Other offenders caught by the system have received driving bans, and 181 drivers have been disqualified.

People have also been fined for driving with no insurance , defective tyres and for using their mobile phones while driving.

Head of Road Policing, Chief Inspector Tracie O'Gara, said: "ANPR is a vital policing tool that improves our ability to enforce the law, prevent crime, and detect offenders.

"It also allows us to reduce the number of stolen vehicles and has a role to play in reducing death and injury on our roads by identifying unsafe vehicles and drivers without the correct documentation."

ANPR can detect number plates even when vehicles are being driven at more than 100mph - and it can check up to 3,000 plates every hour.

The registration numbers are then checked against records from the DVLA, the Police National Computer and local intelligence computer systems.

Police say vehicles are only stopped "where intelligence suggests that some form of road traffic offence has been committed, or when there is a known police interest in that vehicle".




SEE ALSO:
High-tech police arrest 106
19 Dec 02  |  England
New number plates launched
01 Sep 01  |  UK News


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