The number of traffic surveillance cameras operating on Britain’s roads has nearly doubled over the last three years, according to a Guardian report published today.
According to the newspaper, police and other government agencies collect up to 26 million pictures a day, using a network of 8,000 cameras. The database, thought to be the largest of its kind anywhere in the world, contains up to 17 billion pictures taken by automated number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, stored for up to two years. That’s the equivalent of 472 CCTV images for every car in Britain. By 2018, police may be able to read and store up to 75 million images.
According to the report ANPR cameras can record both the number plate and the whole of the car, which often includes the face of the driver, together with the time and direction of travel.
Many police forces, including the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester Police, use police cars equipped with mobile camera units known as ANPR interceptors. Police also make use of other databases such as the DVLA and the Motor Insurance bureau. ANPR technology is used to detect drivers without insurance, untaxed vehicles and other offences.
Senior police officers believe the system is useful in crime prevention, but many privacy campaigners have expressed concern about increasing levels of unsupervised surveillance by police and other government agencies.
Whatever your view, one thing is certain: ANPR cameras are popular with government and are here to stay.
Call us on 0808 231 3908