A rural Hertfordshire town is the first in the UK to have all roads into and out of it completely monitored by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.
The village of Royston on the Hertfordshire / Essex / Cambridgeshire borders seems to be an ideal test site for the cameras, which are claimed to only be able to gain detailed analysis on 2% of the 14.5 million expected number plate matches on a daily basis nationwide.
However anti-CCTV campaigner have claimed that powerful software will be used to examine the other 98% of matches to determine if there is anything untoward happening with those vehicles.
The cameras have already been used to assist in the arrest of 4 men of attempted burglary in the village. It is also claimed that 2,000 people have been arrested as a direct result of using the cameras nationwide in the last 3 years.
The cameras are seen as both detector and deterrent and campaigners fear that this type of system could be installed nationwide to monitor drivers on a daily basis. ANPR cameras have been used by Police forces, usually in patrol vehicles, since the 1990’s to detect vehicles that have out of date or no tax or have been highlighted to the Police force as ‘suspicious’ or to have been used in illegal activity. The system is unregulated and there has never been so much as a debate in Parliament about the instillation or use of these devices.