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Licence plate reader puts more eyes on the road

Officer Anthony Mann with the ALPR camera mounted on the roof of the OPP vehicle.

Officer Anthony Mann with the ALPR camera mounted on the roof of the OPP vehicle.

Ontario Provincial Police have more eyes on the road – computerized ones that alert officers to suspended, expired or stolen plates.

alpr-OPP“The Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) has been in use in East Region since April and in Prince Edward County over the past couple of months,” said Anthony Mann, PEC’s Community Services Officer. “It has been a very effective tool.”

So far five vehicles shared in the region are equipped with sophisticated cameras on the roof capable of scanning as many as 7,000 plates in an hour. The  plates are run through a database in partnership with the Ministry of Transportation and the Information Privacy Commissioner to check for suspended, expired or stolen plates.

“It processes quickly and is continuously scanning and querying, said Mann. “The computer will actually sound an alarm and depending on the pitch of the alarm, will identify to the operator if a validation sticker has expired, if the driver is suspended, or if the vehicle itself is stolen.”

The infrared technology allows officers to keep their eyes on the road instead of multi-tasking with laptops or radio communication.

“Generally officers will stop someone for speeding or another highway traffic violation and we do our checks and it’s during those checks that we learn if they’re a suspended driver, or if the vehicle’s stolen. Now, we continue to do general patrol and boom, that vehicle that just passed us, we know is in violation.”

The system isn’t perfect with an accuracy rate reported to be around 90 per cent. Officers also must regularly download updated information. Approximately 250,000 Highway Traffic Act licence suspensions are issued annually in Ontario.

And drivers won’t be able to speed away from the camera to escape a scan as its speed differential is about 160 km/h.

Mann notes East Region OPP is the first police service in the province to use the technology and one of the leading agencies throughout the country. The County shares with Quinte West and Central Hastings OPP.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Mark says:

    Policing standards and policing costs in Prince Edward is a concern. Fine to advertise their new high priced tech to further invade citizen privacy. The scanner does not know if the driver is suspended! They should not be pulling cars over on an assumption. Perhaps those taxpayers dollars could be better used to patrol some residential streets where speed is a huge concern. Seen one lately?

  2. Gary says:

    I don’t believe the scanner can identify if the driver is suspended as reported in this article. Anyone could be driving the vehicle with permission from the ownwer suspended or not. The vehicle driver should not be pulled over and detained. That is an invasion.

  3. Troy says:

    Vision Systems as they are known in manufacturing are huge money. Likely the cost of the vision system used by the police cost the same as the police cruiser itself. I didn’t know we had such a huge problem with outdated stickers in Ontario that it warranted such a huge investment in capital. Let’s put a stop to this ridiculous spending and focus on putting more nurses in our hospitals.

  4. Gary says:

    Yes Chris, far be it from our police service to access personal information without a legitimate reason!

  5. Chris Keen says:

    The system continuously deletes plate numbers when there are no “hits”.

    In other news, I’m reliably advised there’s a growing shortage of tin foil in town!

  6. sanmc says:

    oO, can’t wait for when they put the chip in your right arm or forehead. That’ll be the time to leave the planet and go to the moon, not even hiding under a rock will save you. As the rock may have a smart chip in it to find you there too, like brand new TV, stove and fridges report back to your smart meter. REALLY !!! Gary you got it right > “smart” meters. And all this while the police are in training for crowd control and … you name it.

    And then there is population control … are you on the list? or will you just be replaced by robotics.

    Where you say is this anti-Christ?

  7. Paul says:

    Presumed guilty until proven innocent I know its bass ackwards but that seems to be the way it is….

  8. Gary says:

    Well that is common sense Sam. It’s all the other technology that is invading personal privacy that is at issue. Your business is not your business anymore. You may say if you are law abiding you have nothing to worry about. That’s fine if you think big brother should know everything you are doing as a law abiding citizen. Just wait, it is going to get really bizarre!

  9. Sam says:

    One more reason to buy your stickers, and not drive if you are suspended or have stolen plates on your vehicle.

  10. Gary says:

    Ties right in with Drones. Drones can follow a person and report everywhere they have been. They will soon deliver mail and pizza! They can scan if you are at home, if you are BBQ’ing having a party etc. I don’t know if they have the capability yet to determine when you are having sex. But they are active and coming here soon. Glad I grew up in the 60’s!!

  11. Gary says:

    Big Brother knows everything about us. Whether you have your sticker, when you are home and cooking i.e smart meter, when you use water, when you use heat, they know when you are home and away. A bit much!

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