Marked? – ANPR when your car has a criminal past


A ‘vehicle of interest’ (VOI).

Author: Polly Davies
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 3 years old.

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Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) covers a wide range of camera technology that automatically reads vehicle number plates then records information about the plate or uses it to cross-reference elsewhere to set off an ‘action’. 

It is used widely in the UK for various reasons, from confirming an airport car park booking to tracking behavioural patterns and by the police to tackle criminality. 

It is thought that over 11 billion ANPR records are created annually capturing the average motorist on a police database more than 6 times a week.  The system has been disparate with different forces using different technology.  In May 2018 the Home Office announced plans for a new £14million national ANPR database – the National ANPR Service (NAS).
Police use of ANPR is required to meet the standards provided for by the National ANPR Standards for Policing (NASP) which requires that no breach of Human Rights, in respect of privacy or data protection regulations takes place.  

If the police have put a ‘marker’ on a vehicle it is a ‘vehicle of interest’ (VOI) and is linked to an individual of interest.  The vehicle will be recognised by ANPR technology, the information will alert the police database (PNC), and matches will be given a low, medium or high priority rating.  The result is the vehicle with the marker is likely to be stopped, with police seeking to check for evidence and potentially make arrests. 

Markers should be removed if a car is sold or found not be linked to an alleged offender.  The police have a number of quality assurance checks to ensure their information is current, but if you find you are in possession of or have sold a car which is a vehicle of interest to the police, contact your local force and update them.  The Chief Constable is the data controller for the ANPR system operated in their force area.

Polly Davies

Legal Advisor

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