In this weeks Leading the Way blog, we explain how ANPR technology is utilised in the enforcement industry and why this has a positive impact on the efficiency, approach and performance of enforcement agents.
ANPR, or Automatic Number Plate Recognition, is a technological advancement that can read vehicle registration plates. This information is captured by scanners and cameras on enforcement vehicles, then cross-referenced using comprehensive databases to alert enforcement agents (EAs) if a vehicle they encounter is recognised and in need of intervention.
A sign of the times
This technology is not exclusive to EAs and has been utilised for some time in CCTV, on motorway cameras and by law enforcement personnel. This helps the Police to quickly identify uninsured and untaxed vehicles as well as locate stolen vehicles. It is also a key feature of smart roads and provides the data needed to control the flow of traffic through variable speed limits. There are over 1000 fixed ANPR cameras currently in use on highways across the United Kingdom.
Many of our Local Authority clients use this technology for parking solutions too, as this ensures an accurate duration of stay and also enhances payment processes with options like ticketless systems becoming viable. These cameras can also identify vehicles that infringe red lights, box junctions and bus lanes. It is expected that ANPR technology will also be used more and more for the management and implementation of clean-air zones (CAZ) as these continue to be rolled out nationally.
In much the same way, EAs benefit from this technology as they can now act swiftly as soon as they pass a vehicle that requires intervention. This is particularly useful when EAs work in areas that involve regularly passing large volumes of vehicles each day, such as those who work on our contract with Transport for London (TfL).
At Bristow & Sutor, ANPR cameras are mounted onto the EA’s vehicle so that they can constantly check passing registrations as the driver goes about his daily duties. The system will then ‘ping’ to alert the EA if they have passed a vehicle that requires further investigation. We have recently extended our fleet of vehicles containing ANPR technology due to the success and positive impact this has had on our overall efficiency and ability to speed up the identification process in real-time.
Considerations and restrictions
The ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) previously published a Code of Practice that includes ANPR and compliance with Data Protection. Bristow & Sutor recognises these guidelines and as a member of the British Parking Association (BPA), we adhere to a number of best practice rules regarding the use of ANPR. For example, we always run a DVLA check to ensure the registered keeper matches our records.
Effective use of ANPR is in line with many of the other technological advancements that Bristow & Sutor has committed to in recent times. It is clear that technological innovation and digital transformation is imperative to our business and we continue to invest in solutions and approaches related to outcomes, such as behavioural science, efficiency, such as route optimisation and engagement, with new software including chatbots.
Bristow & Sutor embraces the use of technology in enforcement and recognises how this will impact the future of the industry, but behind every one of our channels remains experienced people who analyse and optimise performance, ensuring our solutions remain cool, calm and collected.