An Garda Síochána uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems in its Garda Traffic Corps vehicles. ANPR uses optical character recognition technology to automatically read vehicle registration plates and is used in patrol cars by many police forces worldwide. The technology can read number plates at a rate of six per second on vehicles travelling up to 180km/h.
ANPR systems also include a speed detection capability. This allows for the measuring of the speed of a vehicle travelling in front of a patrol vehicle. The video camera records on-the-scene evidence of speeding, and offences such as dangerous driving, crossing continuous white lines and breaking red lights.
One of the main benefits of the system is that the plate recognition can run in the background while Gardaí are measuring speed or attending to other issues as demands dictate.
All vehicles fitted with ANPR camera systems will be able to identify vehicles as being stolen, untaxed, suspect, cited as connected with terrorist suspects, crime groups, drug trafficking, people trafficking and/or persistent offending.
The systems therefore make a significant contribution to the fight against serious and organised criminal activity.
The planned nationwide roll out of ANPR in An Garda Síochána was completed in 2010 and 114 vehicles, mainly from the Traffic Corps, are now fitted with the technology.