An Assessment of Surrey RCMP’S Use of Automatic License Plate Recognition Technology

Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) or Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)1, as it is better known outside of North America, is a echnological system that uses cameras to scan and capture alphanumerical images of vehicle license plates that, for law enforcement purposes, can be compared against a number of police databases to identify vehicles and persons of interest to the police. Initially, ALPR was designed in the United Kingdom as a way to respond to and prevent terrorism (Gaumont & Babineau, 2008; Roberts & Casanova, 2012). More recently, ALPR has become popular among police forces for its ability to detect threats to public safety, including those posed by traffic violators and prolific offenders. Using ALPR technology, police can identify drivers who, for instance, have outstanding warrants, are prohibited from driving, are driving uninsured vehicles, are driving a stolen vehicle, are speeding, or are driving a vehicle that is wanted by the police because of its connection to some type of criminal activity.


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