Mayor expands Met’s number plate cameras to boost crime fighting

22 May 2015

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has more than doubled the number of high-tech cameras used by the Police (MPS) to help identify criminals and bring them to justice. Around 2,300 Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras are now in use for policing purposes in London after the MPS were granted access to 1,300 Transport for London cameras which were developed to enforce the Congestion Charge Zone and the Low Emission Zone. Each camera takes a digital reading of passing traffic, allowing speedy identification and collecting real-time data on the precise whereabouts of stolen cars or vehicles involved in crime. This vital information enables the police to detect more criminals, and deter and disrupt criminality on London’s streets. The move to incorporate Transport for London’s ANPR cameras into the Met’s network was one of the Mayor’s 2012 Manifesto pledges and part of his drive to bear down on crime in the capital. It follows a positive public consultation led by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) with guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office, in which eight out of 10 respondents were supportive. Signs to indicate areas where these ANPR cameras are in use for policing purposes will be springing up across London. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This collaboration on cameras is helping ensure our capital remains one the safest big cities in the world. Having access to TfL’s extensive network of number plate cameras will enable the Met ‎to track down more criminals and help drive down crime in London." The Deputy Mayor for Policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, said: “These 1300 cameras strengthen the digital ring of steel around our capital city and enhance the Met's crime prevention capability. They will make life harder for criminals and help keep Londoners safe. Access to this data means more criminals arrested, more seizures of uninsured vehicles and more cases solved – news that Londoners will welcome.” Detective Superintendent Neil Winterbourne from the Met Polices ANPR Bureau, said: "ANPR is an invaluable tool in the fight against crime and I am very pleased that this step has been taken. Officers from across the Met, whether they are part of local policing teams or a specialist unit, now use ANPR data in over 1,500 investigations each month. The information that ANPR provides helps officers prevent and detect crime and ultimately keep the people of London safer." At a local, regional and national level, ANPR provides lines of enquiry, evidence and helps tackle travelling criminals, organised criminal groups and terrorists. It is also used by forces throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. An ANPR network akin to TfL’s would cost around £32 million to create. To view the latest data on crime and criminal justice in London, visit MOPAC’s interactive dashboards: www.london.gov.uk/priorities/policing-crime/data-information Ends Notes to Editors • The Mayor's crime manifesto, published in April 2012, stated an intention to give the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) access to Transport for London's (TfL's) Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) data, for the purpose of crime prevention and detection. • In line with this manifesto commitment, and following positive public consultation, the data feed from cameras currently used by TfL for the central London Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ) and London-wide Low Emission Zone (LEZ) have been made accessible to the MPS for crime investigation and interception purposes. • DATA PROTECTION ACT (DPA): The DPA is national regulation that governs the use of personal data. As ANPR data can be linked to vehicle owners it is considered personal data and subject to the provisions and regulations in this act. • Police ANPR policy: robust national and Met police policy exists on how ANPR data should be stored, used and accessed. Consultation: • GLA Intelligence conducted a communication and consultation exercise which ran for a period of eight weeks, from 11th February to 8th April 2014. Over this period, views were sought from 562,000 Londoners – a significant percentage of the 1.3 million drivers directly affected by this proposal. • The main consultation web page received over 16,800 hits itself over this time period and 2,315 responses were received to an online consultation. GLA Intelligence also undertook representative surveying with over 6,000 Londoners, 1,000 through a telephone survey in June 2013, 1000 sample online survey in Sept 2013 and then a further 4,000 through online surveys in Feb/March 2014. • Across all polling 8 in 10 respondents supported the Mayor’s policy to give the MPS access to TfL’s ANPR cameras. In fact, around half of all respondents thought the MPS already had full access to TfL’s camera data. 83% of respondents agreed that the Mayor should ensure that organisations such as TfL and the MPS share information to make them more effective and save money.