Police are increasing the pressure on the region’s major criminals as they introduce new state of the art automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras on major routes across the West Midlands.
The new overt cameras will be situated at 16 different locations across the West Midlands. In a first for the force, they will be using 3G technology to capture and transfer images of vehicles which are of interest to the police.
ANPR cameras are not in place to monitor the speed of vehicles but to capture details of number plates along with the time and location of the vehicle. Unlike CCTV cameras, they do not move, remaining focused on one fixed point.
The information they gather is instantly checked against a range of databases including the Police National Computer.
Unlike more traditional ANPR cameras which are ‘hardwired’, the new 3G cameras are flexible and can be moved around easily to cover ‘hot spot’ areas across the force.
The cameras have been recycled from previous camera stock and rebuilt to make use of the latest technology available to the force, saving the organisation an estimated £140,000. Using 3G technology will also save WMP money on an ongoing basis as they are significantly cheaper to operate than ‘hard wired’ cameras.
“In recent years, we have seen countless incidents where ANPR cameras have alerted us to the whereabouts of some of our most high level criminals which has led to their subsequent arrests.
“Many criminals rely on vehicles to commit crime. ANPR is designed, through speedy access to criminal intelligence databases, to make it difficult for criminals in the region to use vehicles without being detected.
“The new cameras will be a really valuable addition to our current network and the fact they are so flexible and easy to move means we are able to respond to crime ‘hot spots’ as soon as they emerge.
“We can respond to the seasonality of crime, moving the cameras to key locations at key times as informed by our analysts, keeping us one step ahead of the criminals.
“The initial sites have been identified as a result of extensive intelligence work to maximise the opportunity to reduce and deter crime in key areas. They will compliment the current network and the cameras already in place on the motorway network giving us valuable data.”
The position of the new cameras will be reviewed regularly to ensure they are providing the best service for the people of the West Midlands. They are being installed in line with the Home Office ANPR Code of Practice which ensures transparency and proportionality.