The fleet of new Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) vehicles made an appearance on Saturday evening at Ballymoney Police station presented to awaiting press, before beginning a patrol of the local area.
Showcasing the new vehicles and their technology, Superintendent Ian Magee (District Commander-Causeway Coast and Glens) spoke to Causeway Coast Community, saying: “What is superb about theses vehicles is that they are another tool in our arsenal.
“it gives us the opportunity that if there are people moving through our district or indeed the whole of Northern Ireland intent on committing nefarious or criminal activities, it gives us an extra opportunity to apprehend and stop them to bring them before the court.”
Police launched a new Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Intercept Team back at the beginning of October, who will use vehicles equipped with sophisticated digital technology, to automatically detect the vehicle registrations of those committing or suspected of committing crime as they move around the Northern Ireland road network.
T/Assistant Chief Constable Jonathan Roberts explained: “The establishment of this new Team, who will use highly-visible ANPR Interceptor liveried cars, is a pilot initiative which is part of the ongoing evolution and upgrade of our ANPR technology.
“The Team will initially operate from our facilities in Omagh and Portadown, using a combination of live time information and intelligence reports to identify, intercept and disrupt criminals as part of reactive and proactive operational activity.”
ANPR cameras work by automatically reading registration numbers of passing vehicles, which are instantly checked against database records of vehicles, which are suspected to be used by criminals. Police officers can use this information to intercept and stop a vehicle, check it for evidence and, where necessary and appropriate, make arrests.
T/Assistant Chief Constable Roberts continued: “The use of ANPR technology has already proved to be an enormously effective operational tool, which allows police to target known offenders.
“The ANPR Intercept Team has been established with advanced driver officers drawn from the roads policing unit who have undergone the latest specialist tactical pursuit and containment (TPAC) tactical training.
T/Assistant Chief Constable Roberts added: “The new team will enable police officers to focus their attention on offending vehicles and allow law abiding drivers to go about their business, safely and unhindered.”