Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is used by police forces for intelligence-led policing and investigative purposes. It is a very effective operational policing tool which allows the police to target known offenders and independent studies have evidenced its success.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has published detailed advice to police forces about the use of ANPR technology. This advice was drafted in consultation with the Information Commissioner's Office and aims to ensure that ANPR is used in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1984 and 1998), Human Rights Act (1998), Freedom of Information Act (2000) and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000).
As the National ANPR Data Centre is in the final stages of being developed and tested, the advice is being updated, and ACPO and the National Policing Improvement Agency are currently working with the Information Commissioner's Office to ensure that human rights are appropriately balanced with proportionate collection, use and retention of ANPR data.