New specialist cameras are being installed on streets across Greater Manchester.
The devices are being hailed by police as a ‘highly effective’ tool to help keep an eye on the region’s roads.
Greater Manchester Police says it is part of a programme to upgrade and replace the region’s existing Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.
ANPR cameras are used by police to detect and locate ‘vehicles of interest’ – such as those which are stolen, driven without insurance or used in organised crime.
Every vehicle that passes by an ANPR camera has its registration number read instantly and checked against a database of vehicles of interest.
It means officers can quickly locate and intercept a vehicle that is flagged up, before making any checks or potential arrests.
Insp Jon Middleton, GMP’s CCTV and ANPR Manager, said: “ANPR is a highly effective tool which denies criminals use of the road, provides intelligence to tackle criminality and allows us to protect vulnerable people.
“The upgrade of our ANPR network will allow us to continue to make arrests which, without the intelligence supplied by technology, may not be possible.
“The information it provides also allows for those arrests to be quicker, resulting in less resource being used and a faster outcome for our victims.
“This investment in the latest technology gives us access to information that enables us to prevent and solve crime, a key step on the Plan on a Page which was unveiled by the Chief Constable last year.”
GMP has a large network of ANPR cameras, and the roll-out to replace them is now underway.
Last month, police investigating a burglary in Stockport used ANPR to locate a car that the offenders arrived in, leading to their arrest.
Police say the system has also proved a vital part of investigations into finding missing people, targeting uninsured vehicles, and solving cases of terrorism, major or organised crime – as the cameras store the registration of every vehicle that passes by for a limited period of time.
This means officers can create a map of vehicle movements when investigating a crime.