Daily Mail

Police use CCTV to photograph three billion car numbers plates a year

Police are using surveillance cameras to photograph three billion car numbers plates a year – the equivalent of 100 pictures every second, new figures have revealed.

The ANPR – automatic number plate recognition – systems are taking images of registration plates at a rate of 350,000 per hour – or around 6,000 per minute.

England and Wales showed they used the technology to take 1.82 billion photographs of cars during 2008.

The number is likely to be around three billion across all forces

These latest figures – released under the Freedom of Information Act – show the number of images taken with the cameras has risen by up to 1,000 per cent from 2007.

All information recorded on the cameras is then kept on the police database

Police say are needed for operational reasons such as tracking stolen cars and catching drug dealers and uninsured drivers.

the hidden devices are an invasion of privacy and are a sign of a “Big Brother state”.

Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon, said: “It is a surveillance state in which people are being monitored and observed morning, noon and night.

“It is a Big Brother state which assumes and suspects that everyone, at any time, might commit an offence and so gathers evidence against you in advance.

“It is an unsettling symptom of something that has grown up without peoples’ recognition, understanding and assent.”

The cameras were invented in the UK in 1976


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