Private nameplates

There are probably, plenty of discussions around you concerning automatic number plate recognition of personalized number plates, and it can be not very easy to find the answer you’re looking for. So, here at DVLA, you will get answers to some of your most general questions regarding automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).

As you continue reading this article, you will get answers to each of these questions and help you grasp the ANPR systems in the UK.

Why is an ANPR camera unique?

Authorities these days use devices called Automatic number plate recognition cameras to capture or to read a license plate for the record. Unlike specific speed cameras that require human intervention, ANPR doesn’t require any operator to take a photo.

Generally, when the police use it, the image of the registered private number plate is sent off to a database, which checks the license for any pending cases or violations. Some of these points are discussed below in detail.

Working principle of the APNR

There are some well-defined steps in which technologists have programmed the functionality of the APNR. The automatic number plate recognition system uses a precision-shoot camera with fast shooting speeds that take a photo of a private number plate before using some form of optical character recognition software to deduce the vehicle registration information from the image. Police officers have the authority to intercept and stop a vehicle, check it for evidence, and make arrests if necessary. Most ANPR cameras are equipped with infrared imaging capabilities, allowing the system to work in pitch-black midnight conditions, as well as in direct sunlight. ANPR cameras have immense use in exposing law-breaking offenses, which include tracking stolen vehicles, tackling uninsured vehicle use, and solving cases of terrorism and crime.

Are all police cars equipped with ANPR?

Although very essential, not all police cars have an ANPR system installed in them. No precise statistics are declaring the exact number of police vehicles fitted with automatic number plate recognition; the authorities avoid publishing specific information.

In the same way, it is also not known how many static ANPR systems there are and where they are located, making the law enforcement system weak and inefficient to detect fake private number plates. This happens because the law is not stringent in its verification and cannot catch those breaking the rules quickly.

What do ANPR cameras look like?

In the UK, most police ANPR cameras will either be mounted on a tripod on a bridge overlooking a motorway or permanently fixed, missing a motorway with a bright green plastic casing. Apart from mounting them inside police vehicles, police forces install ANPR cameras at fixed locations from where they will be able to detect a car from its private number plate, deter and disrupt criminality. Since ANPR works through software, accessing the camera for any operation is quite easy. However, there is no standardized way to identify them, as a result of which these cameras are difficult to spot.

What do ANPR cameras check for?

ANPR cameras compare the personalized number plate your vehicle against the authorized database on a wide variety of criteria. A record for all vehicles passing by a camera is stored, making it easier for police to catch a car by tracking its private number plate.

Mostly are the critical data points they look for are as follows:

  • If the vehicle has passed an MOT of late
  • Whether the vehicles are insured or not
  • If the car has paid road tax or not
  • If the driver has a record of past criminal activities
  • Whether the vehicle registration is legitimate or not.

Automatic number plate recognition at car parks

A comparatively latest trend is the initiation of automatic personalized number plate recognition in modern car parks. It is required when your vehicle registration data is stored upon entrance, allowing the car park to record the amount of time you’ve been there for. When you leave the car park, the system will then freeze the timer. This is a more reliable method of precisely tracking the duration each vehicle has been in the car park.

You can generally tell if a car park has an ANPR system because they either have a barrier at the entrance, which automatically lifts after taking a photo of your registered personalized number plate, or cameras mounted at different locations throughout the car park.