Speed cameras that helped police capture two terrorist suspects last week by matching passing number plates with a “Wanted” database are being investigated for use in Australia by several State Governments.
The new camera technology operates, over 5 lanes of traffic at once and is capable of identifying stolen or suspect motor vehicles.
The new cameras, which have the capacity to capture images at 1200 x 1600 resolution even in poor conditions, are being sought by various Australian Governments in an effort to raise additional revenue, a Dutch executive of the company that makes the cameras has admitted.
Last week British police entered the motor registration number of the suspect motor vehicle driven by the would be terrorists into a central database. Images of passing motor vehicles were in real time captured and compared with the sought vehicle. when the vehicle was spotted on the M6 Motorway in Cheshire police were able to alert police cars in the vicinity of the vehicle to stop it.
Aspect Traffic of North Ryde has supplied more than 20 mobile automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems to the NSW Police abd are currently in discussions with both Federal and New South Wales Police to supply additional ANPR systems . Five major police services are now using Aspect AutoKit, including the Australian Federal Police, the Western Australia Police Service, South Australia Police and Tasmania Police.
Stephen Gateley, Managing Director of Aspect Traffic said “We have recently held discussions with the Federal Police in Australia about number recognition camera for Australia’s national highways. They are very keen on the technology”.
The “24×7” national vehicle movement database in the UK logs everything on UK’s roads and is capable of retaining the data for at least two years. The system, which uses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) software is overseen from a control centre in Hendon, London, is a sort of ‘Gatso 2’ network, extending. enhancing and linking existing CCTV, ANPR and speedcam systems and databases.
The UK control centre which went live in April of 2006 is capable of processing 50 million number plates a day. ACPO national ANPR co-ordinator John Dean said that that fixed ANPR cameras already exist “at strategic points” on every motorway in the UK, and that the intention was to have “good nationwide coverage.” According to ACPO roads policing head Meredydd Hughes, ANPR systems are planned every 400 yards and are used to tackle more serious crime such as the arrest of the recent terrorist suspects.’
Hughes intends ANPR to go in whenever CCTV systems are installed. Ironically the primary aims claimed for the system are tackling unregistered and uninsured vehicles, stolen cars and the considerably broader one of ‘denying criminals the use of the roads say UK Authorities.
It has also been revealed that a proposal is being floated in Australia to install point to point traffic systems on freeways and major roads. How this works is that at key locations, point-to-point measurement cameras are placed at different locations alongside the freeway. These cameras make photographs of each passing vehicle. A computer calculates the average speed that the vehicle has driven between the two points of measurement. The offenders automatically receive a speeding ticket in the post.
The news of tougher traffic management comes only weeks after the NSW Government admitted that over 10,000 motorists had been nicked driving through the new Lane Cove Tunnel in six weeks. The new cameras snap thousands of high-quality images and can monitor speeds in multiple lanes at once. They are also fitted with automatic number-plate recognition gear which alerts cops when a wanted car passes. They are also able to identify cars that are owned by drivers that have been disqualified.
Cameras from the same Dutch company Gatsometer are also are set to be installed on every road in the UK. The company claims that the Gatso MCS multi-camera system is highly flexible and may be either gantry-mounted or installed at the roadside. It uses a combination of digital cameras to capture violations over up to five lanes of traffic, with digital colour images and optional video event recording if required. The Gatso MCS can capture front, rear or front-and-rear image sets of infringing vehicles.
Another system from the same company, the Gatso DRCS has been developed exclusively for traffic use, in fixed, mobile or portable applications. It uses Gatso’s Radar 24, a unique slotted wave antenna on a 24 GHz frequency, approved worldwide for enforcement applications. The system monitors both approaching and receding vehicles and also easily distinguishes between cars and trucks.
The ACT Government is already using Gastometer cameras following a multimillion dollar deal last year. Stephen Gateley, Managing Director of Aspect Traffic, comments, “Canberra is a strategic win for Aspect Traffic, in keeping with our goal for Gatsometer to become the number one supplier of speed and red light enforcement systems in Australia.”
He added, “We believe that Gatsometer’s policy of offering a full range of fixed and mobile enforcement systems, coupled with Aspect Traffic’s experience in installation and systems integration, gave us the edge in this contract. We were able to meet and exceed all the enforcement needs of the ACT Government.”
A Dutch official of the company told SHN that several Australian governments were “Impressed” with the company’s new technology as it allowed a “Big increase” in revenue raising by various State Governments.
In Holland road users have received 2 – 3 million fines because they drove too fast on stretches of highway where there is point-to-point measurement.
The Dutch Police and the Ministry of Justice introduced permanent speed enforcement on several places recently. They claim that “On highways without the point-to-point monitoring, ten to 15 percent of the drivers don’t keep to the maximum speed limit, whereas on highways with point-to-point measurement, this percentage is only 2, 5 percent”, explains a spokesman of the bureau of traffic enforcement.
“In the beginning many drivers will get fines, but as soon as people are used to it, these percentages will decrease.”