Number-plate cameras may soon keep data for five years


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Published Date: 18 September 2008
Surveillance cameras which track motorists as they drive around Northamptonshire could soon retain details for up to five years, following changes to the database.
The Home Office has confirmed that all information gathered by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras will be sent to a new processing centre, where data, including photographs, will be stored.

It has also been revealed that police forcADVERTISEMENT

es have been encouraged to "fully and strategically exploit" the cameras, which were piloted in Northamptonshire six years ago.

Cameras were added to the M1 motorway last year.

Chief Insp Max Will-iams, of Northamptonshire's road policing unit, said data collected through ANPR in the county was currently stored for two years but the force wanted to extend the scheme.

He said: "We are looking to increase the usage of ANPR. We are identifying routes within the county which will benefit from the use of this technology, as it brings a tremendous benefit for us in the fight against serious and organised crime.

"We want to get these serious criminals off our roads and protect our communities from those who may be involved in terrorism, drug dealing, distraction burglary and lorry crime."

Since they were introduced, the ANPR cameras have been used to catch car thieves, kerb crawlers and speeding motorists.

They have also monitored terrorists and crime gangs.

Chief Insp Williams said: "Serious and organised crime is no respecter of boundaries and we know the perpetrators rely on our road network to make quick getaways from the scenes of their crimes.

"Their movements are logged and the cameras allow us to build an intelligence log, which will enable us to close in on the people associated with these vehicles.

The expansion of ANPR has led to complaints from civil liberties campaigners, who question whether details should be kept for as long as five years.

As well as mobile cameras being used for ANPR, fixed cameras monitor key routes and the Northampton's network of CCTV cameras have also been adapted for tracking vehicles.

The National ANPR Data Centre will open in Hendon in four months.

The full article contains 357 words and appears in Northampton Chron & Echo newspaper.
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  • Last Updated: 18 September 2008 9:05 AM
  • Source: Northampton Chron & Echo
  • Location: Northampton