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(Automatic License Plate Recognition) Also called "automatic number plate recognition" (ANPR), it is a law enforcement system that optically scans vehicle license plates. Using fixed-position cameras on highways or mobile cameras in patrol cars, the system identifies the plate and matches it against a database of stolen and uninsured vehicles, as well as vehicles registered to drivers with suspended licenses. Equipped with an ALPR, a police official can drive through a parking lot and process the plate number of every parked car. Some systems even photograph the driver.

From Fixed to Mobile
Developed in Europe in the late 1970s, the first systems used fixed cameras at highway intersections. Subsequent systems migrated to mobile use with faster cameras and better recognition algorithms. In addition, laptop computers became more powerful over the years, enabling more economical and effective mobile use.

Toll Collection and Speeding
ALPR is also used with toll collection systems such as E-ZPass to identify vehicles that go through a toll booth without paying and without an RFID tag. It is also used in combination with highway speed detection systems to identify violators and send them speeding tickets.

People Are Always Creative
Drivers have tried to circumvent these systems by obscuring theletters and digits in some manner or by making their plates more reflective with a plastic cover or spray. However, some countries that have used ALPRs have made modifications to the fonts on the next version of their plates to make them easier to identify at high speeds.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The ANPR Hub is based in North Yorkshire Police's control room with dedicated staff who will monitor and assess real-time information relating to vehicles identified as being connected to criminality and build up intelligence about their movements.
ANPR is designed, through speedy access to criminal intelligence databases, to make it difficult for criminals to use vehicles without being detected."
A Transport Scotland spokesman promised they would not give ANPR data to police.
Prastitis however seemed particularly impressed with the pending introduction of the automatic number plate recognition cameras (ANPR), which are basically surveillance cameras that use optical character recognition to read licence plates on vehicles.
Last year, ANPR enabled Staffordshire Road Crime Team officers to make 323 arrests, simultaneously recovering pounds 180,000 of stolen property and pounds 2,020 worth of drugs
It is hoped that the ANPR scheme will be extended to all police forces throughout England and Wales by next summer.
The number of Penalty Charge Notices issued to vehicles using the ANPR car: 2015/16 - 1107 2016/17 - 715 2017/18 - 159 Councillors met at a Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 28 to discuss parking outside schools.
The arrest was made as part of Operation Hawk, a team using intelligence gathered from ANPR technology and sharing information with neighbouring policing areas.
The use of ANPR systems has been highly controversial in Birmingham after West Midlands Police installed 216 CCTV and ANPR cameras, some of them hidden, across Birmingham.
tAf fcsss CRIMINALS The money spent on ANPR so far could have fixed 2000 potholes on our cash-strapped trunk road system.
The new code may also say how long data, including images from automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, such as those which helped track the killers of Pc Sharon Beshenivsky in Bradford in November 2005, should be retained.
Chapman's car was repeatedly picked up by the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems at Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire police but he was never stopped.