The IPCC will investigate the handling of intelligence prior to the arrest of Peter Chapman, who murdered Ashleigh Hall after contacting her on Facebook.
The investigations, entirely separate to that being conducted into Merseyside Police's monitoring of Chapman (see PP196 p8), will look at the police reaction to a number of ‘hits’ Mr Chapman’s car made on static ANPR cameras in three force areas Chapman was known in while wanted for breaching conditions of the Sex Offender Register.
The investigation could have a wider impact on the way all police forces use ANPR information , the IPCC has said.
Chapman's vehicle, a blue Ford Mondeo, was circulated on the Police National Computer on 23 October 2009 in relation to allegations of theft, arson and failing to notify his change of address in line with his sex offenders' registration.
The three police forces have identified ANPR records showing that Chapman's car was in the force areas between October 23-26, 2009.
Cleveland Police recorded 12 ANPR 'hits' over the three days, Durham Constabulary recorded two 'hits' on October 25 and North Yorkshire recorded two 'hits' on October 26. All the hits were recorded on static, roadside ANPR cameras.
The hits in the Cleveland Police area resulted in the arrest of Chapman, at which point he confessed to Ashleigh's murder.
IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: "The information about recorded hits on ANPR systems warrants an independent investigation to determine how the intelligence was dealt with. I appreciate police forces receive thousands of ANPR hits on a daily basis, but we will want to know how the police forces concerned monitored these systems to determine what can be learned and whether improvements can be made.
"This investigation has the potential to impact on forces around the country as ANPR has become a well used tool. It is significant that it was through the ANPR system that Chapman was caught by Cleveland Police."