Essex Police will be installing new Automatic Number Plate Recognition ( ANPR ) cameras across Essex to target criminals using the county’s roads.
There are currently 61 fixed cameras across the county but the number is due to increase to 95 over the next year.
New camera sites are being considered in Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Colchester, Harlow, Harwich, Rayleigh, Saffron Walden, Southend, Thurrock, Wickford, Woodham Ferrers and the Tendring area.
In the last twelve months evidence from ANPR cameras has been used in 206 court cases to secure convictions for theft, burglary, vehicle crime, robbery, fraud, the supply of controlled drugs, kidnap, conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry of foreign nationals into the UK, serious domestic violence crimes, assault and murder.
Martin Lyddon, ANPR Manager at Essex Police, said: ““ANPR makes a positive contribution to policing objectives each and every day, supporting a range of activities from volume crime enquiries to major incidents.
“Between 2015 and 2016, 16 a total of 607 arrests were made using fixed site and portable ANPR . It has also been used by the Casualty Reduction Unit to enhance road safety and has been pivotal in the seizure of 502 vehicles for no insurance in Essex over the last six months.
“In October 2015, four men were convicted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment for their involvement in the widespread theft and disposal of vehicles stolen from across Essex. Fixed site ANPR helped trace the movement of the stolen vehicles and those being used to commit the crimes. The blend of traditional policing methods combined with ANPR technology brought these offenders to justice.”
Martin Lyddon added: “We want to be very transparent around our use of ANPR across Essex, which is why we are publicising our plans.
“We know that it can be considered by some to be controversial, but it has proven itself as a crucial tool in both detecting and deterring crime.
“We have extremely stringent processes in place to manage the data that these cameras collect and innocent members of the public have nothing to be concerned about. Our plans to increase our ANPR coverage across Essex is all part of our on-going commitment to keeping the county safe and making it as difficult as possible for criminals to operate in our county”