Automatic number plate recognition cameras operated by police forces scanned 10.1billion vehicles last year – and the technology has been used by councils to generate fines worth almost £500million in half a decade, an investigation has revealed.
There have been 6.9million penalty charge notices for offences such as parking and straying into yellow box junctions in the last five years by cameras installed by authorities.
Research by motoring site Auto Express also revealed that ANPR cameras operated by police forces had generated 203million ‘hits’ on vehicles of interest.
This includes motors without tax, that have no registered keeper or have been used in criminal activity.
Highways England uses ANPR cameras on motorways. These cameras are painted green, making them easy to distinguish from traditional speed cameras
Concerns about privacy are somewhat stemmed by the police’s requirement to delete all ANPR footage after 12 months – though non-offending drivers still might take offence to these Big Brother tactics.
Local Government Association Councillor Martin Tett defended the use of the cameras, saying councils ‘make no apologies for enforcing the law’ and all surplus revenues generated go back into the issuing authority’s transport-improvement pot of funds.,
He also claimed that 99 per cent of the fines given to motorists were not appealed, suggesting that motorists acknowledge that they have have committed an offence and have been caught doing so.
A spokesperson from the National Police Chiefs’ Council told Auto Express that the use of ANPR cameras is necessary to protect the public and reduce crime, though their operation had to be ‘as transparent as possible and protect individuals’ privacy’.
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