Police keep a high-tech eye on road users
FOR the past month or so, police in West Cornwall have been using a marked police vehicle fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to target drivers who use the roads illegally.
ANPR technology identifies vehicles using the road that are of interest to the police, via cameras attached to the police vehicle which are able to read numberplates on passing vehicles.
This data is compared with several computer systems instantly identifying vehicles which may have no insurance, those involved in crime or those committing other document offences.
The deployment has been mainly along the main arterial routes and, in consultation with neighbourhood beat managers, has also been used in the area's towns and villages.
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PC Pete Allen said: "While the majority of vehicles in the area were being used legally, the deployment has seen offenders dealt with for a variety of offences, ranging from driving without insurance or tax to possession of drugs.
"Officers have also made use of Section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 which provides for a warning to be issued to drivers using a vehicle in an antisocial manner. Any repeat of this behaviour will then result in the vehicle being seized.
"Although west Cornwall is recognised as a low crime area, this technology has enabled us to focus on those drivers who use the roads illegally, or in the commission of crime.
"It is important that all drivers are aware of their responsibilities while on the road."
There have been several occasions where owners of vehicles have allowed others to drive their vehicles knowing that they are not correctly insured – an offence on the part of the owner as well as the user.
PC Allen added: "The successful deployment has seen thousands of vehicles read by the cameras all over west Cornwall.
"The success we have is, in a large part, the result of information passed on to us by members of the public and we would encourage people to keep contacting us with their concerns."