ANPR data is used across the country to help with enquiries and provide evidence in criminal investigations.
As a vehicle passes an ANPR camera, its registration number is read and checked against a database of vehicles of interest. Our officers can then use this information to stop the vehicle, check it for evidence and, where necessary, make arrests. The use of ANPR in this way is vital in the detection of serious crimes as well as locating stolen vehicles and tackling uninsured vehicles. It also allows officers to focus on offending vehicles rather than law-abiding drivers.
ANPR data from Wiltshire Police is submitted to the National ANPR System (NAS) where it is stored with similar data from other forces for a period of one year.
We have clear rules to control access to ANPR data to ensure it is used for legitimate investigation purposes. Staff only have access to ANPR data if it is relevant to their role, and the majority of those who have permission may only do so for a maximum period of 90 days from the date it was collected.
Some staff are authorised to access data for up to 1 year, subject to authorisation from a senior officer. After 90 days, access is only for serious, major or counter-terrorism investigations.
ANPR data can confirm whether vehicles associated with known criminals have been in the area at the time of crimes and can dramatically speed up investigations.
ANPR cameras are used both within police vehicles and at fixed locations at the roadside.
In line with national policy, we do not disclose where these are as this could benefit offenders and reduce the effectiveness of ANPR.
National guidelines state that if we want to install additional ANPR cameras, we need to demonstrate a clear need, taking into account:
In assessing whether new cameras are to be deployed, we carry out a privacy impact assessment. We consult with the public and with organisations with a reasonable interest in the proposal unless that would be contrary to the purpose of the development, namely to detect, deter and disrupt criminality.
We regularly review the location of ANPR cameras, taking into account the above, to make sure that the locations of cameras are still justified. All reviews consider the impact of ANPR cameras on privacy.
The Chief Constable is the data controller for the ANPR system operated within Wiltshire Police.
Any requests for information or complaints should be made following the online process.
In simple terms, no we cannot.
The disclosure of the locations of our static ANPR cameras would have a serious negative impact on how we carry out intelligence lead and operational policing. Revealing the locations of cameras weakens the systems utilised in the monitoring of criminal activity and specifically terrorist activity. This would place the security of the county and the country at an increased level of risk. ANPR is an invaluable tool and is used in conjunction with other tools to help uphold national security. The safety of the public is of paramount importance to the police and the impact of disclosure of camera locations, making the public better informed about the systems and its use, is not outweighed by the fact that disclosure would put the public at greater risk.
Throughout 2018 there were between 1.3 million and 1.5 million reads per day between fixed and mobile ANPR units.
ANPR data is retained for a period of one year before it is deleted. Rules and procedures are in place to make sure we comply with the data access and audit requirements of the National ANPR Standards for Policing.
ANPR is utilised for the prevention of disorder or crime, in the interests of public safety or if there is a pressing social need.
When weighing up the placement of static ANPR cameras, significant consideration was given to the Human Rights Act. Wiltshire Police have assessed the deployments of fixed ANPR cameras and determines that the locations they have been placed to be lawful and proportionate to the volume and type of crime and the privacy of individuals is not unduly compromised.