Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, which reads and retains vehicle registration plates, is used by the Constabulary in both a fixed and mobile capacity throughout Cumbria.
How it works
As a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, its registration number is read and instantly checked against database records of vehicles of interest. Police officers can intercept and stop a vehicle, check it for evidence and, where necessary, make arrests. The use of ANPR in this way has proved to be important in the detection of many offences, including locating stolen vehicles, tackling uninsured vehicle use and uncovering cases of major crime. It also allows officers’ attention to be drawn to offending vehicles whilst allowing law abiding drivers to go about their business unhindered.
Access to stored data
ANPR data from Cumbria Constabulary is submitted to the National ANPR Data Centre (NADC) where it is stored together with similar data from other forces for a period of two years.
We have clear rules to control access to ANPR data to ensure that access is for legitimate investigation purposes.
Searches of ANPR data can confirm whether vehicles associated with a known criminal has been in the area at the time of a crime and can dramatically speed up investigations.
In addition to being mounted within police vehicles, ANPR cameras within Cumbria Constabulary are used at fixed locations where they will help to detect, deter and disrupt criminality. In line with national policy, we do not disclose details of our fixed locations as this information is likely to be of benefit to offenders and if known could reduce the value of ANPR to policing.
National guidelines state that, if Cumbria Constabulary proposes to install additional ANPR cameras, an assessment must be conducted that demonstrates a clear need, taking account of the following factors:
- national security and counter terrorism
- serious, organised and major crime
- local crime
- community confidence and reassurance, and crime prevention and reduction
In assessing whether new cameras are to be deployed, a Privacy Impact Assessment will be undertaken. We will consult with persons and organisations with a reasonable interest in the proposal unless that would be contrary to the purpose of the development, namely to detect, deter and disrupt criminality.
Cumbria Constabulary is also committed to regularly review the location of ANPR cameras, in the context of the above criteria, to make sure that the continued deployment remains justified. All reviews will include consideration of the impacts on privacy.
Code of Practice and National Standards
The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice defines guiding principles for the use of ANPR which are applicable to police systems. In addition National ANPR Standards for Policing (NASP) also provide the framework for the operation of ANPR by the police and other law enforcement agencies. Copies of these documents are available at the NPCC.police.uk website.
Surveillance Camera Commissioner ANPR self-assessment
The Surveillance Camera Commissioner ANPR Self-Assessment has been completed to show how the force complies with the 12 guiding principles of the surveillance camera code of practice.