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Vehicle Number Plates

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate he has made of the number of drivers falsely accused of motoring offences because of the fraudulent cloning of number plates in the latest period for which figures are available; (144799)

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of drivers falsely accused of motoring offences due to inaccuracies in the automated number plate recognition database in the latest period for which figures are available;

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of motoring offences that the police have been unable to pursue due to inaccuracies in the automated number plate recognition database.

It is not possible to estimate the number of drivers falsely accused of motoring offences because of the fraudulent cloning of number plates; the number of drivers falsely accused of motoring offences due to inaccuracies in automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) databases or the number of motoring offences that the police have been unable to pursue due to inaccuracies in the ANPR database as these figures are not collected centrally. ANPR is used as the starting point to investigate offences and is not in itself used to press charges or comment on prosecutions.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the merits of the pilot scheme Operation Laser using automatic number plate recognition; which police forces are participating in the pilot scheme; and if he will make a statement. (145435)

Since the first Home Office pilot began in 2002, the police use of ANPR technology has resulted in more than 50,000 arrests; ANPR has now been rolled out across all police forces in England and Wales. Significantly, in the last three years it has delivered two to three times more ‘offences brought to justice' (OBtJ) when compared to conventional policing methods. Much of this success is attributable to police intercept teams operating at the roadside although more recently, the benefits of ANPR as a police-intelligence and investigation tool has been realised by its ability to identify vehicles linked to many different types of criminal offending. It has consistently impacted on criminal activity at all levels, but particularly that involving drugs, cross-border crime and disqualified driving. With the help of new enabling-legislation, police ANPR intercept teams have been extremely effective in seizing vehicles for document offences.

The National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) assumed policy and operational oversight for ANPR from April this year. It is now seeking to embed the learning from the ANPR pilots into mainstream policing practice within police forces.