Intelligent policing with next generation ANPR

First generation ANPR systems have been extremely successful in detecting simple crimes: tracking known vehicle registration numbers (VRMs), finding stolen vehicles and prosecuting uninsured or un-taxed road users. While these achievements are significant, it is only when ANPR data is enriched with information from other sources, particularly operational intelligence, that its full power becomes apparent.

Feb 12, 2009
By Paul Jacques
Graeme Biggar

First generation ANPR systems have been extremely successful in detecting simple crimes: tracking known vehicle registration numbers (VRMs), finding stolen vehicles and prosecuting uninsured or un-taxed road users. While these achievements are significant, it is only when ANPR data is enriched with information from other sources, particularly operational intelligence, that its full power becomes apparent.

Intelligent ANPR is at the core of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) ANPR Strategy for the Police Service 2005/2008: Denying Criminals the Use of the Roads, with the emphasis on developing local, cross-border and national intelligence applications for ANPR and integrating it with other criminal intelligence analysis, particularly developing the potential of ANPR in relation to post-incident investigation and intelligence profiling.

Since it was integrated into the National Intelligence Model (NIM), ANPR has become an integral part of an intelligence-led approach to policing.

IP ANPR (intelligent policing automatic number plate recognition) is the result of Kent Police taking the lead for ACPO to develop the use of ANPR as a strategic and tactical assessment tool and as a means of identifying and targeting hotspots, trends and nominals.

Working with software solutions supplier IPL, Kent Police has addressed one of the key targets in ACPO’s strategic document with IP ANPR: “Developing sophisticated, analytical tools that can extract data from ANPR systems and import this into other analytical products, allowing analysis of patterns to guide deployments and providing proactive intelligence on the profile of vehicle-born criminality and integrating it with other criminal intelligence analysis, such as crime pattern analysis, to identify any connection between criminal activity and criminal movement on the roads.”

Recognising that efficient use of IT software for tracking vehicle movements had become a vital requirement of 21st century policing, Kent Police commissioned the development of a software application that had the ability to view vehicle whereabouts through maps and charts. This activity has also helped to highlight anomalies and links with other intelligence data in order to achieve optimum crime detection rates.

IP ANPR, a powerful investigative solution, combines automatic number plate recognition data with police intelligence and has already shown significant benefits to crime investigation at the force.

In the first six months of use at Kent Police, IP ANPR significantly reduced the cost and time required for collection, preparation and manipulation of crime detection data.

IP ANPR has also helped intelligence analysts by significantly reducing the cost of preparing standard NIM analytical products

ANPR data has historically proved useful in crime detection. Millions of car journeys across the country are recorded through the extensive fixed and mobile CCTV and ANPR camera infrastructure.

Local authority CCTV cameras are often converted to read licence plates on behalf of the police, adding to the 10 million drivers’ journey details which are logged each day throughout the country. These details are used by forces to aid investigations ranging from low-level crime to counter-terrorism cases.

The problem for forces was utilising the ANPR data to make connections with crime reports, statistical and behavioural data. Unlocking hidden value within data is a process which can take a great deal of effort with conventional investigation methods, but one for which intelligent IT software is ideally suited.

The IP ANPR software developed in conjunction with Kent Police is unique in combining intelligence and ANPR data into a powerful toolset able to detect and investigate serious and complex crime. Through detailed analysis of vehicle movements, IP ANPR reveals patterns of behaviour which, when linked to other intelligence data, provides forces with a powerful investigative tool. Importantly, it build

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