ANPR Operation Helps Keep Criminals Out Of St Albans

Friday, 12 March, 2010

ST ALBANS is an even safer place to be, with the number of criminals and unsafe drivers travelling through the City centre down by 19 per cent in the past year.

With low levels of crime and disorder across the area, St Albans City and District has seen a drop in the number of vehicles highlighted by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, whilst the volume of traffic has remained the same.

It's not just the number of suspicious vehicles that has fallen. Latest figures show that all crime across St Albans is down by 9.9 per cent this year between April 2009 and February 2010, compared to the same period the year before.

The operation, known as Operation Sentinel, was launched in March 2009 and is a joint initiative between Hertfordshire Constabulary and St Albans City and District Council. Its aim is to deter and detect illegal, uninsured drivers and criminals, and to ensure innocent motorists and the wider community are kept safe.

St Albans Chief Inspector Richard Hann commented: "We work closely with our partners, local businesses and residents in a number of ways to continue to keep St Albans a safe place to be, which includes regular ANPR operations.

"It has proved itself to be a valuable addition to modern-day policing and, as these results suggest, can be effective both as a deterrent to criminals and as a way of stopping anyone tempted to come into the area who is linked to crime or is driving a dangerous and uninsured vehicle.

"I'd like to reassure our law-abiding residents and motorists that we will continue to make use of ANPR to keep criminals and unsafe drivers out of St Albans."

Councillor Anthony Rowlands, Portfolio Holder from Community Engagement and Support commented: "This is another excellent example of what can be achieved through joint working across partner agencies to deter and detect criminals. It sends out a clear message to those who are linked with criminal activity that they are not welcome as well as protecting law-abiding residents."

Robert Bolt, Hertfordshire Co-ordinator for the Association of British Drivers, commented: "I see ANPR as a win-win situation. It not only makes the roads safer by removing potentially dangerous and illegal vehicles but also makes the streets safer by reducing the number of potential criminals who would otherwise visit St Albans in hard to trace vehicles."

How does ANPR work?

ANPR highlights suspicious vehicles to officers so the vehicles can be stopped and the 'flagged' issues investigated. The camera can read a number plate every second, and compares it against a variety of local and national databases. It offers a more targeted approach than traditional methods, meaning fewer law-abiding motorists have their journeys interrupted and more criminals and unsafe vehicles are taken off the road.

Operation Sentinel launched in June 2009 and has seen the introduction of two Intercept teams, as well work across the Constabulary by Neighbourhood Teams, Road Policing, the Force Communications Room and the Special Constabulary, amongst others.

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