Smart car for Merseyside officers

It`s not quite Knightrider, but Merseyside officers are getting access to some of the highest tech police cars in the country.

Oct 20, 2005
By David Howell

It`s not quite Knightrider, but Merseyside officers are getting access to some of the highest tech police cars in the country.

As a joint venture between Merseyside and e-policing Ltd (part of the Futronics group) each patrol car is fitted with a rugged tablet PC that gives each driver the ability to access all of the systems that they would normally use including police radio, the warning signs and sirens and the operating system for onboard cameras.

Also, officers are able to access the Police National Computer to conduct vehicle and name enquiries. The car has rear and front facing cameras to enable it to read oncoming and following vehicle number plates using the Automatic Number Plate Recognition Technology (ANPR). This system displays captured images of vehicles that have been matched from police databases and informs the officers by an audible alert. The vehicle also has cameras that have a digital recording system to record and playback incidents of anti-social behaviour, crimes in progress or road offences.

In addition the vehicles have an Automatic Vehicle Location System (AVLS) to enable control rooms to pinpoint exact locations. This allows officers to reach an incident much faster and give assistance to fellow officers. The vehicle has on board Satellite Navigation to direct officers to locations using the fastest route.

The system allows officers to update the control room of their actions by texting their results over the computer’s messaging system. This ensures accuracy in the recording of results and reduces officer’s time waiting to give results over the radio. The computer also carries additional software like the Thatcham Vehicle Identification System (TVIS), which gives officers access to visual images of each and every make and model of vehicle on the road. It identifies year of manufacture and where identification marks can be located.

Merseyside will be trialling the vehicles for a few months, at which time they hope to transfer this technology to the whole of the vehicle fleet. The rest of the force’s fleet are already being upgraded with computer screens allowing PNC access and messaging facilities.

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