Automatic Number Plate Recognition (‘ANPR’) is increasingly popular with the tax paying public; about 30% of any vehicle insurance premium is used not to cover the honest law abiding driver, but to pay for damage caused by uninsured drivers who frequently drive poorly maintained vehicles that crash and kill or seriously injure other motorists and pedestrians.
The use of the technology in road pricing schemes also finds favour with the green ‘lobby’ – drive a heavily polluting car into central London and it is ANPR technology that helps clean up the city environment.
Furthermore, there is no better tool to recover and return stolen vehicles to the public or stop vehicles that have been used in criminal activity.
Eyes of the law
Within minutes of a car being stolen and the Police National Computer being updated, any ANPR camera then becomes an extra pair of eyes. The world record currently stands at three minutes. Some thieves recently drove off without paying for fuel, after the garage owner called the police; the vehicle concerned was stopped by a police mobile ANPR system two miles away and the occupants arrested.
A total of 178 service stations in the UK are now using our technology, so even if the driver is not caught by the police, next time he tries to refuel the pumps won’t work!”
At the state level, ANPR is also proving an effective tool to raise additional revenue - in Northern Ireland the technology has, through 11,255 penalties, raised an additional £1.1m.
The police have grown accustomed to having an additional tool that boosts detection and clear-up rates and proves incredibly efficient and cheap in comparison to normal methods of policing. A recent study by PA Consulting Group (see here) found that an officer equipped with the technology is typically 10 times more efficient than one without. Therefore not only is the police officer happy to use the technology, which enables him to do the job he’s paid to do (catch criminals), but his bosses are very happy because the ANPR systems are machines, which don’t need pensions and don’t want pay rises, yet sit at the roadside for years scanning millions of number plates.
The technology is ‘big brother’s’ dream come true - with the correct density and sighting of cameras you can have the capability to track every single journey made by every individual in a country. What’s more, data can be stored indefinitely if required; you may not commit a crime now, but if you do, the evidence is already there. If you don’t like living in a vast open prison then you might want to consider living elsewhere. However, be warned because this technology is now being deployed worldwide – Appian alone now has over 240 systems running in North America and the Middle East and it’s catching on rapidly in many other regions.
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