Sitting in a Vaxhall Vectra at the side of the A53 in Etruria on a cold wet Thursday doesn’t sound like the most glamourous of ways to spend a couple of hours, but if the car happens to be a top of the range police car fitted with over £5000 of Automatic Number Plate Recognition equipment it does become a slightly more interesting proposition.
There were 4 highly visible police cars taking part in the operation around Hanley on Thursday, each one checking the number plates of 1000s of cars each hour. No matter if they are driving, parked up monitoring the traffic or have already pulled someone over, the ANPR kit checks the registration plate of each car it sees in either of its two cameras against a database of over 2 million cars which are flagged for attention.
As each car comes in to view the camera captures an image and feeds it in to the ANPR computer fitted to the car and searches the databases for Tax, Insurance, MOT as well as information from the Police National Computer which checks to see if the vehicle or its owner are wanted in relation to accidents or crime. Details of stolen vehicles are also added to the system as they are reported. All these checks are done almost instantly and the information for each vehicle is flashed up on a dashboard mounted monitor.
4 years ago it was estimated that 10% of vehicles on the road in the UK were uninsured, today in Staffordshire that is down to 2.5%. The reduction in uninsured vehicles is because of the proactive approach we take and the ability to seize uninsured vehicles at the roadside.
If you drive an uninsured vehicle and are stopped, you will receive a £200 fixed penalty at the roadside & 6 points on your licence. We will then seize your vehicle, which will cost you a further £150 in recovery costs. The recovery operator will then charge you around £20 per day for storing your vehicle until you have insured it and collected it. So you could be looking at up to £600 plus the cost of your insurance, which will almost undoubtedly also go up in price and will be more expensive than if you had insured your vehicle in the first place.
The operation around Hanley resulted in 11 negative breath tests, 4 cars seized for not having insurance, 7 people reported for summons and 5 fixed penalty notices for various driving offences.
Today we used our Automatic Number Plate Recognition equipment police cars to target people illegally using the road around the city centre. We know that criminals involved in committing crime often commit motoring offences. Also vehicles that aren’t insured are more likely to be involved in a collision.
The ANPR system focusses on vehicles but is not solely for the detection of vehicle crime, if you are wanted by the police in relation to any crime, your vehicle details can be entered on the the ANPR and officer anywhere in the country will be able to see that your vehicle should be stopped and you questioned or arrested.
Adem Kilincarslan who was jailed last week for a rape which took place 15 years ago was caught by ANPR, Kilincarslan had been involved in an accident at Weston Coyney and failed to stop, his vehicle details were entered on to the Police National Computer and the ANPR system. He was stopped and questioned by PC?? from the Police Crime Unit who arrested him after a search of his vehicle found 2 knives under the drivers seat. A DNA Sample was taken after his arrest and this was subsequently matched to a sample taken as part of the investigation in to the rape 15 years ago.
the ANPR gives us information on vehicles as they are scanned by our system but we don’t rely on it solely, still use our instincts to stop cars. When we look at a car that passes all the ANPR checks we can usually tell if there is something that we need to investigate
As well as the ongoing ANPR operations around the city, Staffordshire Police are also taking part in the national annual Drink Driving campaign, on Wednesday officers from the Tunstall Incident Management Team targeted drivers in the Chell Heath Road, Smallthorne and Fegg Hayes areas between 6.30 pm and 10.15 pm.
A total of 211 vehicles were stopped with 9 drivers, aged between 23 and 64 years old, were breathalysed. All provided negative tests.
One vehicle was seized for not being insured and a number of drivers were given information on drink driving.