Update: see previous post March 15, 2009 Lights, Cameras, Roll’em (April 2009 – Toronto)
Law Enforcement in British Columbia is using ALPR, computer software capable of scanning, capturing and identifying 3000 motor vehicles licence plates per hour.
Before police officers deploy the system everyday, they perform a daily download of CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre’s database, which in addition to identifying those individuals which have outstanding arrest warrants; also acts as the automated criminal records retrieval system which has full access to the Criminal Name Index (CNI) ) and the British Columbia’s Motor Vehicle Departments information. The system at this point, has only been programmed to include information that has been downloaded (includes stolen licence plates, unlicensed plates, uninsured vehicles, etc).
Each police car that utilizes this technology, is equipped with three (3) digital video cams (hooked up to the computer). These video cams take recorded images of each vehicle, which includes the occupants of those vehicle being recorded and the software of this system isolates the licences and runs them through the systems, which connect to all of the databases.
In each police car using ALPR, there are two forward facing videocams (one which videotapes vehicles on the left and another that videotapes vehicles on the right) and one video cam,(positioned on a 90 degree angle to easily record images of licence plates on vehicles parked in a parking lot) on the side of the police car which videotapes the licence plate images.
The police officer featured in the video feels this technology will revolutionize policing in North America and admits that the technology can be tailored for other tasks (future considerations: National Security, Counter Terrorism, Organized Crime and the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver).
Update: June 28, 2009 – RoboCop move over…
In British Columbia’s City of Victoria’s police officers have begun familiarizing themselves, over the last few weeks, with”body-worn” video cameras attached to sunglasses or bicycle helmets that can be activated to record (audio-visual) incidents. The “body-worn” video cameras, which also record sound, will be donned by two bike-patrol officers, two beat patrol officers and two traffic cameras, who will utilize the “body-worn” video cameras with car-mounted video cameras. The body-worn video cameras can only be manipulated or deleted through a desktop computer system located at the police station. The miniature cameras, with audio-visual capability are on loan from two different manufacturers and will be widely tested by Victoria police during a pilot project, for the next two months, This technology has been embraced in Europe over the last few years.
Victoria police officers will introduce this new technology on Canada Day into Victoria’s Inner Harbour area, where it is expected up to 50,000 party goers will congregate in a celebratory mood. During this time, Victoria police will be conducting liquor searches, during which time, the Victoria Regional Transit System will be banning passengers from possessing alcohol from its buses. Victoria is the only city in British Columbia to ban and prohibit riders from possessing and carrying unpackaged beer, alcohol and wine onto its buses. Police will be strictly enforcing the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.
One of the companies in the U.S. offering licence plate recognition technology.
See stories:The Canadian Press, Times Colonist, CANADAEAST,