11/13/2005UK: Top Cop Wants Cameras Every 400 Yards
Spy system would give police real-time access to the whereabouts of individuals anywhere in the UK.
The new head of traffic police for the UK, Meredydd Hughes, announced his desire for cameras that would track the movement and identity of motorists "every 400 yards along the motorway." The cameras would also be placed in parking lots and shopping centers to monitor everyone as they enter or leave in real time.
The system would use CCTV and Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to identify and ticket motorists automatically. A central computer would keep tabs on individual movements offering police anywhere in the country access to the whereabouts of anyone through a "24x7 national vehicle movement database" in real time.
At first the cameras would focus on stolen vehicles and those whose insurance, tax, or registration may have expired. Each "Intercept officer" will be given a target of issuing 310 tickets every year with the system. During the pilot test of the system in 2004, ANPR teams stopped 180,543 vehicles and issued 51,000 tickets for offenses including failure to wear a seatbelt, use of a mobile phone while driving, and various paperwork infractions.
Hughes, chief of the South Yorkshire police, recently replaced Richard Brunstrom as the head of traffic police for the Association of Chief Police Officers. The information comes from a strategy memo obtained by the London Sunday Times.
"We are hoping to have a good nationwide coverage within the next 12 months," John Dean, the Association's ANPR co-ordinator told the Times.
The move has raised concerns among civil liberties campaigners. "Big national databases have joined sweeping police powers and ever more criminal offences as a new panacea of policing," said Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty.Source: Spy cameras to spot drivers every move - Sunday Times - Times Online (London Times (UK), 11/13/2005)
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