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Police to use crime busting spy van

PUBLISHED: 16:05 19 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:57 03 March 2010

POLICE will spot criminals faster than ever before when Suffolk Constabulary takes delivery of its latest crime-busting "spy van".

The Vauxhall Movano van arrives next month and will be kitted out with the latest hi-tech equipment to help catch criminals as they travel on the county's roads.

POLICE will spot criminals faster than ever before when Suffolk Constabulary takes delivery of its latest crime-busting "spy van".

The Vauxhall Movano van arrives next month and will be kitted out with the latest hi-tech equipment to help catch criminals as they travel on the county's roads.

It will be fitted with an automatic number plate recognition system (APNR) that involves a video camera capturing images of vehicles and feeding them back to a computer system

The system can then "read" the registration plates, allowing police to check against their databases, and if a match is found, officers can be sent to intercept the relevant vehicle.

Police are being given the van – which bears the Suffolk First logo – free from the Home Office.

Detective Superintendent Adrian Braddy, of Suffolk police, who is in charge of the project, said: "Today's criminals almost always rely on a vehicle to commit offences.

"This system is so advanced, it can 'weed out' vehicles used by criminals as they travel on roads across the county, regardless of traffic density or speed.

"APNR fits neatly within the aims of Suffolk First initiative in that it can help make the county safer by catching criminals and, by providing a visible presence on the county's roads, make people feel safer too."

The system can also be used to catch people who commit traffic offences like driving while banned and car tax dodgers.

Suffolk First is a pledge by Suffolk Constabulary and the police authority to make Suffolk the safest county in England and Wales by 2006 by having the lowest level of crime and disorder and the highest feelings of public safety.

Forces in Staffordshire, West Mercia Thames Valley and the City of London Police are also using number plate recognition systems.

Many petrol stations have ANPR systems in an attempt to thwart petrol pump thieves who drive off without paying for their fuel, costing the industry more than £12 million each year.


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