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back to article Police ordered to disclose ANPR camera sites

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary is contesting a judgment ordering it to release the location of its fixed automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras, following a successful Freedom of Information appeal by Guardian Government Computing. The force was told last month to release the locations of its ANPR cameras, in the …

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WTF?

Terrorism and...

"If we are forced to reveal their locations, then other forces will have to follow, and that raises serious issues particularly around counter terrorism,"

and pedos, I'd like to add. Right?

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Illegal immigrants too

There should be a "shoehorn" icon...

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Anonymous Coward

Counter Terrorism... In cornwall?

What? is Mebyon Kernow giving them the shivers?

Isn't it time they gave up this bull and did some actual policing? There are fair-sized towns in Cornwall that don't even have a police presence.

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Dilemna

On the horns here, unlike speed cameras the ANPR cameras identify significant events.

With the speed cameras there is no allowance for circumstances and before I get flamed, most speed limits are based on worst-case scenarios ie rush hour or school-run levels of activity. There are a very large number of dual carriageways with 50mph or less limits which can be safely navigated at higher speeds in the dead of night for example. A 'copper in a car' is likely to apply the attitude test to someone doing 56mph on a 50mph section at 3am on a dry road whilst the camera just says 'That'll be £100 - or whatever the going rate is'.

If someone is driving around with no insurance etc then I don't want to be in the same vicinity and the best way is for them to be taken off the road. These are people who know full well that in the past their chances of being caught were minimal so why not. They can't be arsed to buy insurance etc (assuming they are not banned and so should not be on the road anyway) which means that when they are involved in an 'unintended occurence' the other drivers get hammered with all the consequences of delays getting things sorted and costs such as their excess.

On balance, I think I would prefer that the police could keep ANPR locations secret despite the 'nothing to hide etc etc' mob rather than in support of them.

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indeed

or (for those of us who DO have insurance) you could have the feck awful scene that is DVLA database is wrong. One of my previous cars (a renault laguna) had a cloned plate at one point. I had the correct plate and logbook but the "cloned" one somehow got scrapped.

oh boy. That screwed things up. My car was *ALWAYS* pulled by mobile ANPR coppers to the tune that I left a DVLA cover letter, logbook, driving licence,insurance in the car (thieves delight).

Having an auto one would be really shitty - I needed to manually apply for a tax disc each year as it was (the auto system never sent me a reminder). DVLA attempted to fix it a few times then I gave up after the 2nd year.

Luckily I wrote it off when someone on the M65 failed to notice me at the back of stationary traffic and ploughed into the poor car at 70. That stung a bit and the car fell to bits (the mondeo in front of me gave his driver severe chest injuries and I must have taken a bite out of the initial impact) but it was true to its 5 star NCAP - I walked away with a few cracked ribs.

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Terrorism - check

I like how they raise the terrorism boogeyman almost immediately. How many terrorists have actually been caught via ANPR?

People still manage to steal hundreds of motorcycles a year in London and despite all of the cameras around the city, the police will go ahead and tell you 'Yes, that van is known to the police' and still not be able to do anything about it. But they seem to work great if you commit a revenue generating crime like failure to tax.

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Personally

I hadn't realised what a terrorism hot-bed Devon and Cornwall are.

I know some people get a bit hot under the collar when it comes to pasties and cream teas, but I didn't think things had gone that far.

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WTF?

Cornish terrorism

Have you not heard of the Cornish National Liberation Army aka the Cornish Republican Army?!

This is a radical terrorist organisation with at least *one* member!!!

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Anonymous Coward

I think I used to know him!

But hey, the most subversive thing he ever did was to write some poetry, and, as that was back in 1965, I don't suppose he's very active these days

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The Oo Argh A?

I thought they packing it in when his wife got pregnant?

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Go

Or you just ask them...

I made a call to my local force's non emergency number report a potentially dangerous vehicle. I gave the registration number which I was 95% sure of.

"We have the technology to see which cars went through and match that"

"Would that be the sea of ANPR cameras you have on that roundabout and on the road leading to it?"

"Yes."

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Publish the locations for each month at the end of the month, on a monthly basis...

...and then move them at the beginning of each month.

Problem solved.

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Yeah. Terrorists. Right

*yawn*

Cos the foremost thing on a terrorist's mind is using valid and correct plates for the car he/she is driving, right?

God/Yaweh/Allah/etc forbid they should nick someone else's plates to help cover their tracks whil plotting mass-insert-the-latest-fashionable-fear-thing-here.

UK Police really do think they're secret agents or something.

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it isnt to nick them

it is to track their movements to build a case.

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I'm not usually in favour of secrecy but

I don't have a problem with them keeping their location secret. If you need to dodge them, you are probably doing something you shouldn't be.

Their main use is to pick up the cars of the uninsured and I have no problem whatsoever with that..

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What were you doing last tuesday at 6.45pm

Nothing to hide here, move along, move along.

Of course, I doubt they keep all that data and use it to track you moving around.

Really? Not even in the logs?

Yes I know, if I had a mobile phone "they" could track me with that, and if I had a clubcard "they" could track everything I brought and correlate against known patterns of tourists. Guess what I have neither of?

Anyways, I'm off to read what my friends are up to on facebook

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Stop

title

I notice that you are sufficiently confident in your freedom of speech that you have posted anonymously. What has happened to the no need to fear if you are "not doing something you shouldn't be"?

My concern is twofold. The first is the ever present function creep. ACPO Ltd are just like a naughty child. They are forever pushing the boundaries to see what they can get away with. If they are not stopped, they will push even further. for ever.

My second concern is a fear that in the near future things that are perfectly legal today, such as going to watch a demo to find out what it is all about, will become illegal. The data will then be mined to get retrospective convictions. The British police, as exemplified by ACPO Ltd, have deliberately thrown out Peel's Principles of Policing, and the whole idea of policing by consent, and are now establishing themselves as an army of occupation responsible to Common Purpose. After all, ACPO Ltd are already equal partners with elected government, see the About page on the acpo.police.uk web site.

If all you can see is getting uninsured cars off the road, what comes next will be a great big surprise to you.

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Pint

@ AC 1425GMT

+1 internets with that post.

Well said sir.

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Grenade

I post anonymously because I...

...AM doing something I shouldn't be - my boss might take exception to me posting in work time.

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Flame

Wow, some of you are VERY paranoid.

You should be seeing a shrink.

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Anonymous Coward

Naughty behaviour

"I post anonymously because I... ...AM doing something I shouldn't be - my boss might take exception to me posting in work time"

Do you think posting anonymously is a protection against being caught for that? Are you using a work computer?

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@"Wow, some of you are VERY paranoid" AC

Not paranoid, just sufficiently historically aware enough to remember that function-creep happens, and what you thought was protected forever is only a statute (or an over-zealous policeman) away from being a total infringement of liberties. The fact that police have used terrorism in the heart of Cornwall (!) as a reason to protect the locations of these cameras shows that they are still on the "be afraid, be very afraid" kick. In fact, your comment should be levelled at the police, not the sensibly wary posters here.

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Happy

"Wow, some of you are VERY paranoid" - AC 18:48

Says the person who posted their comment anonymously!

If you're not worried, what made you reach up and tick the "Post anonymously", box?

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Unhappy

It seems...

...that "probable cause" is becoming a rather redundant criterion these days.

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Catch the uninsured please

Why do they claim terrorism? If they just said "Look we use this to catch uninsured cars on the road, which costs us ALL loads of money", then I think the majority of the country would be backing them.

If their locations are known, uninsured drivers can easily look these up and then avoid these routes in and out of towns, etc.

When the police use "Terrorism" as an excuse I think most people are of the mind "Yeah whatever", but then again maybe they're being clever and saying terrorism so that the uninsured think they're safe.... On 2nd thoughts, probably not!

PS. Im all for ANPR cameras, preferably secret to catch the banned, uninsured, etc and if it helps track where a criminal escaped from a crime, sobeit!

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FAIL

Crime

Until the crime they are tracking you for becomes something that you believe should be legal.

Once the system is in place, the privacy is gone and cant be reclaimed.

Catching uninsured drivers is a good thing - I agree. However, for an un-manned ANPR system to do this the uninsured driver has to have a car registered to their address. There are easier ways to find out who has a car registered to their address without paying tax. You seem to assume that the scroaty criminal who is driving without insurance has kept all his other vehicle registration details up to date.

ANPR fitted to police cars *is* effective at this, but static cameras are not.

All static cameras can do is provide a database of the movement of vehicles past their location. This is great for people who want to go back in time and fish through the traffic to find a specific number plate at a specific location - and I suspect it doesnt require the same level of RIPA authorisation as putting a surveillance team out on a suspect to get the same information.

I am glad people are happy that the cunning police are able to circumvent our laws in this manner.

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Troll

spot the troll

> If they just said "Look we use this to catch uninsured cars on the road, which costs us ALL loads of money", then I think the majority of the country would be backing them.

think again. mass surveillance is no way to do law enforcement in a democracy. it doesn't even work in dictatorships.

besides, anyone with a functioning brain would immediately ask the cops for a cost/benefit analysis: eg how many uninsured drivers or kiddie-fiddling terrorists get caught for every anpr lookup or camera, if that was an efficient and proportionate use of public money, etc.

it's also escaped your attention that anpr *might* identify a registration number with that's not on the insurance database -- what about cars with foreign plates? -- but that's not the same thing as identifying an uninsured driver.

> Im all for ANPR cameras, preferably secret to catch the banned, uninsured, etc and if it helps track where a criminal escaped from a crime, sobeit!

jesus h christ! i'll bet you are in favour of id cards, cctv on every street corner and dns databases for all too. if so, please fuck off to north korea. and take the stasi wing of the daily heil readership with you.

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Anonymous Coward

"serious issues particularly around counter terrorism"

that would be the Kernow Liberation Front presumably

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Anonymous Coward

It's lunch time, I'm off for a pastie.

As someone who lives in Cornwall I don't see any terrorist related activities by these 'nationalist' nutters (or others thankfully), unless of course you count painting slogans as terrorism. They're muppets but not terrorists, and strangely enough they never seem to get arrested for these acts of vandalism. In this respect I'm reminded of Pakistan's alleged lax attitude towards it's Islamic extremists.

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Anonymous Coward

reminded of Pakistan

Why? Are there Devon Liberation Front training camps springing up in Cornwall?

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But do they do anything ?

I remember seeing one of these cop shows (where they have a TV crew in tow), and the copper was talking about ANPR. The copper said that it goes off so often, then they usually ignore it, as following up every alert would take up too much time.

Another thing: What do the Police do about hits from these static ANPR cameras ? Surely by the time the cops have the info on a car, the car has disappeared into the sunset ? I mean, they wouldn't be using these ANPR cameras to log everyone's movements, would they...

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Megaphone

France doing the opposite

well, what I mean is that they are about to HIDE the location of their speed cameras!

Road deaths have been increasing in France in the last 3 months, so yesterday 'twas announced that they will install 1000 new radars at undisclosed locations; REMOVE the current panels which say "caution radar ahead"; make speeding 50km/h above the local limit a criminal act (not just RTA points but court/ judge/prison) and call it "violence routière"; BAN radar detectors (xtal-set at x-band) - they're unsure what to do about all the smartphones that do GPS/GoogleMaps and squawk where the speedcams used to be.

A French manufacturer has already, within one day, proposed a simplified GPS based app that just reminds you every so often of what speed you ought to be doing, irrespective of where the map of detectors are.

My (small) village in Italy has just (2011) installed around a hundred local-police ANPR CCTVs around the area. Two crimes have been solved according to local press. case 1. the Chemist shop was robbed last month, few hundred euros grabbed from the till, 2 days later a 'known man's house was raided by carabinieri and he admitted to many similar grabs over the whole county. case 2. pedestrian knocked down and killed at night in nearby village. With the timed CCTV data and a mobile phone map of who was present in the village, it took local plod around 2 weeks to find a little old lady who didn't notice that she'd driven over someone.

Now that's a tiny village in northern Italy, I would assume UK ANPR is stuffed with goodies - but who exactly gets the hi-res feeds? which databases are populated?? if England ever elects a BNP government in 20 years what are the safeguards??

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Anonymous Coward

small village

so all that effort and the best they could do is on totally empty roads they managed to solve 2 crimes? do you think they would have even managed to do that much if there had been more than 1 car on the road? a small village is pretty easy to ask "who ran that lady over at 3am" and look up "well we had a car at 1:23am then another at 3:02am then one at 5am", a city where even at night there are hundreds of cars driving around, not quite as useful...

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bogey-men alert

ah yes, it's to catch drug-dealers and terrorists. Of cooooooooooooourse!!!

Where's the 'Pinocchio' icon?

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Grenade

To all those that think ANPR is to catch the uninsured

You really are a bunch of unimaginative fucking morons.

If someone is out there is determined to dodge the insurance or perform some more serious immediate crime, you *really* think they will not be above spending a one-off few quid to grab a licence plate number from someone with the same make/model/colour of car as them?

If someone *is* a criminal, they also generally have the nous to avoid the more obvious police traps (well, not all criminals, otherwise the odds and sods section here would be a lot emptier), so really this is just to keep tabs on the generally well-behaved and tax-paying part of society.Why? That I don't really know. There appears to be a section of humanity that is obsessed with control-freakery. They'd want to know the ins and outs of a gnats arse if they could get away with it.

So all this really does is provide a nice little earner for "Dave" down the pub who knows someone who can put you in touch with someone who get you a nice new set of plates if you don't really want to pop up on the ANPR system.

And if the new set of plates happen to match yours - good luck in proving it *wasn't* you at the time/place/whatever when the police decide to have you for something. After all - the technology never lies does it?

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fake plates

Yes its now stupidly hard to purchase legit plates for a trailer or caravan but insanely easy to get them from certain market stalls and car shows - they seem to do a roaring trade around here. A local vitage bike enthusiast keeps getting TFL fines for his vintage bike complete with piccies of a white transit travelling around london city centre.

Also, our local firestation has old cars donated for practise - its actually quite good to watch them rip the roof off in less time that it takes to change a wheel - but leave the plates on the car and you are in deep do-do. You will start getting TFL tickets and speeding and parking fines because DVLA still sell your address but dont tell TFL et.al the vehicle is not a white van but a small (crushed) car.

And yes the guy that takes the cars on behalf of the firestation is entitled to log the vehicle as scrapped and does so via 'puter.

personally I want some LCD plates ala James Bond :-)

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Stop

Soon to be added to the average speed camera network?

I wouldn't be surprised that shortly after the announcement of motorway speed limits are going to raised to 80mph, the ability of ANPR cameras to act as a wide area average speed camera system will be turned on to start enforcing it.

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Anonymous Coward

ANPR Cameras?

But there is absolutely no such thing as an ANPR camera. Every local authority CCTV camera in my local area could be an ANPR camera. They can connect the output from any of those cameras to ANPR if they so choose. So surely the solution for the force concerned would be to name all their cameras, not just the ones that are currently CCTV enabled,

Since they probably have any number of patrol cars with ANPR capability I don't see what people hope identifying the fixed cameras will achieve.

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Am I missing something?

How does ANPR help with catching uninsured/banned drivers? It doesn't tell you who is driving the car.

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Rather know *why* they were installed in the first place,

along with *who* authorised them (Let me guess. Something to do with ACPO Ltd perhaps?)

And WTF is that 5 year and (apparently ) *growing* data retention policy.?

So the historians of 2050 can study the driving patterns of their forefathers?

I think not.

Forget that storage is getting cheaper.

The cheapest storage is *not* to do it in the first place.

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Unhappy

Umm...some of us just don't like being spied on.

Period.

Is the ACPO's ultimate aspiration to produce a system where they know the location of every member of the public at any point in time?!? If so, that's not a Britain that I want to be part of.

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FAIL

ANPR evidence as alibis?

So, who's going to raise an FOI request to find out how often ANPR records are provided as circumstantial alibis? Or are the peasants not allowed access to inconvenient data that might exonerate them?

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Stop

Bollocks to uninsured and terrorist nutters, the real reason?

I tell you why they want it kept secret, not for something as insidious as tracking people, well not yet anyway, but for per-mile road charging!

Think about it, how the hell do you find all the cars out then on the road, where they are where they go, you'd have to fit them all with something which could break off or be tampered with. Answer? Use the requirement by law to have a license plate on every car, measure from ANPR camera to ANPR camera! Instant profit for the Gov charging the already heavily fleeced tax payer.

Mark my words, we will have per-mile charging on EVERY road within 15 years!

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