Police have warned criminals they are more likely to be caught thanks to a new camera that helps patrolling officers spot offenders on the roads.
A mobile automatic number plate recognition camera system has been fitted to a car used every day by Mansfield’s neighbourhood policing team and is now being used to aid in the fight against crime.
Nottinghamshire’s automatic number plate recognition network allows police officers to track the movements of vehicles – either in real time as crimes are in progress, or retrospectively during ongoing investigations.
Thanks to government funding secured by Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry, the force has been able to make substantial improvements to the local network in Mansfield.
Part of a wider £462,000 Safer Streets grant, the money has been used to add cameras to routes into and out of town.
As a final addition to this high-tech, crime-fighting jigsaw, a new camera has also been fitted to a car that is nearly always on the move in and around the town centre.
The camera can automatically detect vehicles listed on the national police computer network and raise the alarm with officers. It can also feed information back to the network in real time about the location of other wanted vehicles.
The implementation has been led by Detective Inspector Jonathan Naylor. He said: “The enhanced ANPR capability in Mansfield has already delivered over 1.2 million reads and identified a number of vehicles involved in criminality leading to the recovery of a stolen vehicle and arrests for aggravated burglary.”
Inspector Nick Butler, district commander for Mansfield, said: “The automatic number plate recognition network really is an invaluable policing tool because it allows us to accurately track vehicles that are being used (or have been used) in criminal offences.
“Home Office Safer Streets funding, which is also being used to improve CCTV coverage and street lighting in the town, is all about making life as difficult as possible for criminals.
“Improving out local mobile automatic number plate recognition network is another great way of achieving that goal because it makes it so much harder for criminals to get away with the offences they commit involving vehicles.
“Drug dealers in particular have reason to be nervous about these improvements as we are now more likely than ever to spot them and pull them over when they are driving on our roads.
“Car thieves also face a far greater chance of detection when our officers are able to track their movements so quickly. All in all, this investment in new technology is a huge win for pretty much everyone in the area.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “As Notts’ PCC, I am determined to do everything possible to bring criminals to justice. Thanks to funding from Safer Streets, we have been able to invest in new technology and equipment that will make life easier for Mansfield’s Neighbourhood Policing Team and much more difficult for offenders. Criminals beware – if you are intent on causing harm and disruption to the lives of hardworking people, you will be caught.”