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7/25/2005
ANPR Plate Scanner Giving False Positives
UK police often turn off their plate-scanning camera because it gives too many false positive readings.

UK ANPR scanner
UK police have been increasingly using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras able to scan hundreds of vehicle license plates every minute. The system checks the plate against a database to determine whether the owner has overdue parking tickets, is uninsured or if the car is stolen. A growing number of US jurisdictions are using the device to seize automobiles.

Auto Express, however, reports that an inside police source confirms that the device is often turned off because it is unreliable. "Officers say they sometimes find the technology frustrating because of the number of false or useless positive 'hits' it flags up," the source said. "On occasions, this means the system simply gets turned off."

False database entries cause headaches for both the police and the innocent motorists who are pulled over as if they were driving a stolen vehicle, only to be later proven innocent.

Article Excerpt:
Our insider, who wanted to remain anonymous, explained: "Some data on these databases is incorrect or out of date. This means police can end up pulling over innocent drivers, which is a waste of time for both parties." He explained that one possible cause for false alarms was stolen cars not being removed from the force's 'missing' list. Alternatively, a vehicle may be listed as uninsured, but the motorist is covered through another policy.
Source: Cops Turn Off Plate Gadget (Auto Express (UK), 7/20/2005)

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