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BMW Police car with ANPR

ANPR in Police Cars

BMW Police car with ANPR

In a world where technology is continuously on the rise, it’s no surprise that police officers are now utilising automated systems to their advantage – especially for monitoring vehicles on the roads. 

By use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). A technology that uses character recognition on images to read vehicle registration plates, this clever automation uses this information to create location data. 

The data can then be used for both traffic and law enforcement purposes to enable officers to catch offenders and provide evidence in court.

Let’s dive into what ANPR is used for and why police officers use it.

What ANPR Does

Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is a cleverly designed piece of software that allows police officers to scan and read your number plate.

The information received will then enable officers to search your vehicle’s details from a database should you be of policing interest. 

If you’re an avid road user, you may have seen signs on the roads stating that ‘ANPR is in use’. ANPR can be used across CCTV, ANPR-specific cameras, and traffic enforcement cameras to help capture a clear image of your vehicle registration number.

Whilst installed on police cars, ANPR is predominantly used on motorways and can detect many things, including stolen cars, vehicle markers such as involvement in drugs or weapons and untaxed/uninsured vehicles.

Along with tackling smaller offences, this clever piece of advanced technology has helped the police force make strides in deterring, detecting, and disrupting criminal activities across the UK.

Cars equipped with ANPR

Not all police cars are equipped with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). 

ANPR is an expensive automation and is mainly provided to police cars designated to tackle road safety and serious crime. 

However, there are some exceptions to this, as a few local patrol cars do have ANPR for detecting vehicles of interest in their local area.

So, which cars have Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)? 

Designated police cars such as police traffic cars, firearm cars, and a handful of local patrol cars are most likely to be equipped with ANPR.

You’ve likely passed an unexpected BMW on the motorway, flashing its lights, and sounding its siren in an attempt to chase a suspicious vehicle ahead. These types of cars belong to road trafficking police officers and firearm officers.

So, now you know that police cars who have ANPR technology don’t typically resemble an average police car, how exactly do you spot one? 

Signs a car has ANPR

To identify a police car with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), you should take a close look at the roof of the car. Here, you may spot a small black camera pointing to either the rear or the front of the vehicle.

Proceed with caution if you decide to look as we don’t recommend that you take your eyes off the road to spot a black camera!

ANPR is usually provided to officers whose duty is to protect users on the road along with firearm officers. However, it is important to note that there are a few local patrol vehicles who do have ANPR. 

The rise of technology has helped the UK police force make huge advancements in deterring crime and catching criminals.

Tom Brook

Tom Brook

I am a former Police Detective with years of knowledge and experience in investigating serious crimes across Scotland, working with communities and keeping the public safe. I aim to give back to the Policing community with this site!
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