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London expands use of number plate cameras to boost crime fighting

Staff writer |
London Mayor Boris Johnson has more than doubled the number of high-tech cameras used by the Police (MPS) to help identify criminals and bring them to justice.

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Around 2,300 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are now in use for policing purposes in London after the MPS were granted access to 1,300 Transport for London cameras which were developed to enforce the Congestion Charge Zone and the Low Emission Zone.

Each camera takes a digital reading of passing traffic, allowing speedy identification and collecting real-time data on the precise whereabouts of stolen cars or vehicles involved in crime. This vital information enables the police to detect more criminals, and deter and disrupt criminality on London's streets.

The move to incorporate Transport for London's ANPR cameras into the Met's network was one of the Mayor's 2012 Manifesto pledges and part of his drive to bear down on crime in the capital.

It follows a positive public consultation led by the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) with guidance from the Information Commissioner's Office, in which eight out of 10 respondents were supportive. Signs to indicate areas where these ANPR cameras are in use for policing purposes will be springing up across London.

At a local, regional and national level, ANPR provides lines of enquiry, evidence and helps tackle travelling criminals, organised criminal groups and terrorists. It is also used by forces throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

An ANPR network akin to TfL's would cost around £32 million to create.

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