Express & Star

Staffordshire Police’s automatic number plate recognition provision gets funding boost

Staffordshire’s police czar has earmarked around half a million pounds towards tracking down vehicles involved in crime.

Staffordshire PFCC Ben Adams

Staffordshire Police’s automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) provision is being boosted as part of a significant investment in resources to tackle crime on the county’s roads.

The force currently has a fleet of 10 vehicles equipped with ANPR technology, a report to the latest police performance meeting said, and work is taking place to identify “the right equipment and suppler to deliver both current and future ANPR needs.” The report added: “Once this is completed the implementation will commence with the 15 ANPR uplift being available between the end of 2023 and start of 2024, based on the current timeline.

“The ANPR provision also includes 40 static cameras and we are currently working with commercial to identify a supplier. The equipment is very different to that of the mobile fleet.

“Once the commercial stage is completed there are a number of technical activities that must be completed including site survey, structural and electrical testing; once this is all completed, it is a matter of identifying installation dates. Due to the range of additional activities that rely on third parties to support this work the timescales are less clear, but we are expecting to see the static cameras being online and operational during late spring/ early summer 2024.”

Staffordshire’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Ben Adams was quizzed on the ANPR cameras at Monday’s Police, Fire and Crime Panel by a member of the public. He was asked: “Will the commissioner be publishing regular updates on the work of these cameras – for example, the number of offenders detected, fines issued, points awarded on licences, types of offences e.g. no road tax or insurance etc?

“I’m all in favour of the installation of ANPR cameras monitoring the 2% of motorists on our roads who do not have tax and insurance amongst other things. I hope that in the future the commissioner feels able to publicise the results on a regular basis – let’s see how many of these people are caught and forced to pay their contribution to the roads.”

In a written response Mr Adams said: “The investment in ANPR cameras will greatly increase pro-active opportunities to target offenders who utilise road networks across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to commit crime. Identification of new ANPR camera locations is intelligence lead, and will see an increase in camera coverage across the whole of Staffordshire.

“Whilst specific data relating to operational activity is not published, the benefit of investing in Staffordshire’s static and mobile ANPR camera network is regularly discussed at the Commissioner’s Public Performance Meeting (PPM) with the Chief Constable. The next PPM will take place on 23rd January 2024.”

Speaking at Monday’s Police, Fire and Crime Panel meeting he added: “I’ve approved half a million pounds’ worth of investment in ANPR this year which is going to make a significant difference; more cameras all over the county, particularly at key junctions, tracking vehicles in and out of the county as well. Also more mobile ANPR cameras – this will be in the Roads Policing Unit and local police team vehicles – and it will mean every district has equipped vehicles.

“They are used for identifying vehicles without insurance and MOTs to some degree but their primary use is to identify known criminals, look for vehicles that are believed to have been stolen and particularly to monitor and assess situations, sometimes after a crime, to see which vehicles were in a locality. They aid investigation as well.

“They’re far more a robust tool in dealing with criminals that use our road networks in the widest sense. The real value is quite often you pull somebody over for something such as missing insurance and they’ll find stuff in the boot.”

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.