Do All Police Cars Have ANPR in The UK?

Do All Police Cars Have ANPR in The UK

No, Not all police cars have ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras. The presence of ANPR technology in police vehicles can vary from one police force to another. 

Moreover, Larger forces, like the Metropolitan Police, tend to have more camera-equipped cars, while smaller forces may have fewer. To find specific details about the number of equipped vehicles in individual police forces, you can often check their official websites. The deployment of it can depend on the resources and priorities of each police force.

What does ANPR stand for?

ANPR is an abbreviation that stands for “Automatic Number Plate Recognition.” ANPR cameras are designed to scan and capture vehicle registration plates, combining this data with location information for a multitude of traffic management and law enforcement applications.

What ANPR Does do?

What ANPR Does do

ANPR is mainly used by the police to catch and stop criminals at different levels: local, regional, and national. It helps with things like finding cars without insurance or tax, locating stolen cars, and solving big crimes.

Criminals often use cars for their crimes, so it helps the police gather evidence for investigations. But it is not just for the police. It’s also used in many places like parking lots, supermarkets, and waste sites run by local councils. 

In these places, ANPR makes it easier to pay for parking, see if there are empty spaces, and do away with paper tickets.

In simple terms, ANPR cameras can do things like:

  • Check how fast cars are going.
  • Find cars that don’t have tax or insurance.
  • Identify stolen cars.
  • Help catch criminals.
  • Keep an eye on traffic.
  • Watch bus lanes and box junctions.
  • Manage parking in lots.
  • Monitor toll roads.
  • Control congestion zones.
  • Measure how long it takes to get from one place to another.

Where You Can Find ANPR Cameras?

ANPR cameras are used by the police in many places to catch criminals and make sure people follow the rules on the road. There are about 11,000 of these cameras all over the UK, and they send a lot of information to the national ANPR system every day.

These cameras can be in police cars, but they’re also set up in certain spots to help with keeping things safe. The police can’t tell us where these cameras are because it might help bad guys.

But, we can guess where they might be. Data from AutoExpress shows that the top 10 areas where these cameras are used include:

  • West Midlands
  • Thames Valley
  • Cheshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • Surrey
  • Merseyside
  • Lancashire
  • West Mercia
  • Wiltshire
  • Dyfed-Powys

Moreover, it’s also important to have car insurance because these cameras can check if you have it. If you need car insurance, you can get help from Adrian Flux, who has been in the insurance business for over 50 years. They’ll help you find the right insurance for your car.

Applications of ANPR Technology

In addition to law enforcement, ANPR technology finds application in various other domains, including:

Law Enforcement – Police: ANPR technology plays a pivotal role in the operations of the police in the UK. Its primary aim is to detect, prevent, and disrupt criminal activities at various levels, spanning local, regional, and national dimensions. This includes combatting mobile criminals, Organized Crime Groups, and addressing terrorist threats. 

In practical terms, the police leverage ANPR data for multiple purposes, including identifying vehicles without insurance, locating stolen vehicles, and even solving cases associated with terrorism, major crimes, and organized criminal activities. The effectiveness of it is a cornerstone of modern law enforcement.

Car Parks: Further, ANPR cameras are commonly employed in privately managed parking lots, as well as those administered by local authorities. They bring several advantages, such as enabling ticketless parking, tracking available parking spaces, streamlining payment processes through mobile apps, and preventing car theft.

These systems enhance security by matching vehicle plates to issued tickets and capturing timed photographs for accurate record-keeping.

Traffic Management: Highways England deploys approximately 1,100 ANPR cameras at roughly 500 sites on motorways and trunk roads. These cameras play a pivotal role in calculating journey times, with the National Traffic Operations Centre (NTOC) relaying this information to the public through services like Traffic England.

Security and Access Control: Moreover, the systems are also integral to high-security locations, including prisons and private warehouses. These are grant-specific vehicle access based on predefined lists, ensuring tight security measures are upheld.

Lastly, it serves various sectors, contributing to efficient operations, security, and data management across a range of applications.

Recognizing ANPR-Equipped Vehicles

To identify a police car equipped with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), focus on the car’s roof. There, you might spot a compact black camera pointing either towards the front or rear of the vehicle.

However, exercise caution when looking for this camera, as we strongly advise against taking your eyes off the road to spot it.

It is typically provided to officers responsible for road user safety and firearm officers. It’s worth noting that a few local patrol vehicles also feature ANPR systems.

The evolution of technology has empowered the UK police force to make substantial progress in crime prevention and apprehending wrongdoers.

How ANPR Data Is Used

ANPR technology is used by different groups, like the police, local authorities, private companies, the DVSA, and the DVLA. When an ANPR camera takes a picture of your number plate, people can only see your registration data if they have a good reason.

There are rules called the National ANPR Standards for Policing and Law Enforcement that say access to ANPR data must be fair and based on the situation. They also say that data should be deleted within a year, except in special legal cases.

Further, private companies can get vehicle and owner data from the DVLA if they have a good reason and belong to certain groups. They can’t see data about where vehicles go or if they break rules.

In parking lots, it can take pictures when a car enters and leaves to know how long it’s been there. ANPR cameras are also used at places that need extra security.

What ANPR Checks Reveal

What ANPR Checks Reveal

ANPR checks provide information about:

  • Who owns the vehicle?
  • Whether the vehicle has valid tax, insurance, and an MOT certificate.
  • If there are any special notes on the vehicle from the Police National Computer. For example, if it is stolen, if the driver is wanted by the police, or if the vehicle is associated with carrying illegal items like firearms or drugs.

How ANPR Cameras Work?

ANPR cameras use special sensors to take pictures of license plates. They can read plates even when cars are going very fast, up to 100mph or 160km/h. Even when it’s raining or snowing, the cameras can still take good pictures. Bad weather and poor lighting don’t stop them from working well.


Do ANPR cameras check MOT?

Yes, ANPR cameras can check whether vehicles have a valid MOT by cross-referencing registrations with relevant databases.

Does ANPR Work at Night?

ANPR cameras work at night as well. They use infrared sensors to capture number plates clearly, regardless of the time of day.

Can ANPR Catch you Speeding?

ANPR is not designed to catch speeding drivers. It primarily focuses on motoring and criminal offenses. However, ANPR technology is used in some areas with average speed cameras to determine the average speed between two points.

What Types of Cameras are used by ANPR?

ANPR cameras are used by the police and in partnership with local authorities. These cameras include mobile units in patrol cars, transportable cameras in specialist vans, fixed cameras on motorways, and more. They can also be integrated into town center CCTV systems and at critical points on the road network, including airports and ports.

What police cars have ANPR?

Most modern police cars.

What does police ANPR mean?

Automatic Number Plate Recognition.

Are all police cars fitted with ANPR?

No, not all.

What do ANPR cameras look for?

Vehicle registration plates.

Final Words

Not all police cars in the UK have ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology. It depends on the police force. Some bigger forces have more cars with ANPR, while smaller ones have fewer. 

Further, each force decides based on its resources and priorities. To know the exact number of equipped cars for a specific force, you can check their website. ANPR is a helpful tool for the police to fight crime and keep the roads safe in the UK.