New hub to tackle travelling criminals

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy in the ANPR Hub. (S)
Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy in the ANPR Hub. (S)

A sophisticated new approach to tackle travelling criminals in the county is being stepped up with the opening of a new crime-fighting hub.

North Yorkshire Police (NYP) pledged in 2014 to invest £1m in Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology.

This effort is now gaining momentum as a new ANPR hub is opened - with a dedicated staff to monitor and assess criminal activity as it happens.

“It is vital that we invest in new technology and exploit its benefits to help protect our communities and keep people safe and secure,” said Assistant Chief Constable Paul Kennedy, who is also the national lead for the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC).

“Law-abiding people have nothing to fear from the increase in ANPR cameras, but criminals should take note that they are now, more than ever before, likely to be caught in North Yorkshire.”

North Yorkshire is the largest, single county police force in England with 6,000 miles of roads and borders to seven other counties.

A significant proportion – around 20 per cent - of all detected crime in the county is committed by criminals travelling from neighbouring areas such as West Yorkshire, say police.

This new investment in ANPR, which works by reading registrations of passing cars and automatically checking it against a database, will help target these travelling criminals.

NYP already uses ANPR which it says has proved to be a highly effective tool.

And this latest move is part of an ongoing £1m investment in ANPR which also includes new mobile, fixed site and in-car cameras, and the introduction of a second Road Crime Team.

Police say this new hub will allow officers to increase their coverage across the county, gathering intelligence to pro-actively target and intercept criminals.

“Traditionally ANPR has been used to react to vehicles passing through, however our new hub gives us the resources to use the technology in a more proactive and intelligent way,” said the Asst Chief Constable.

“I hope the residents of North Yorkshire are reassured that we are constantly striving to improve our service and efficiency, and these latest developments have one aim – to increase protection for them and keep the area one of the safest in the country.”

Julia Mulligan, police and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, added: “Investing in ANPR capability is vital to continue to keep North Yorkshire as one of the safest counties in England.

“It means the police are now better able to track and disrupt travelling criminals who are intent on causing harm in our communities.”