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Siemens and Cleartone Provide Advanced LPR for UK Police
Source: Siemens Building Technologies 2009/10/29

A powerful new ally in the fight against crimeA powerful new ally in the fight against crime

Thames Valley Police will benefit from a new ally in the fight against crime — a unique second-generation LPR system from Siemens. This is thanks to a new strategic partnership that Siemens has formed with Cleartone-Video to deliver end-to-end dynamic LPR solutions.

LPR, which uses optical character recognition to read the licence plate on vehicles, has been used by police forces to monitor traffic activity for several years. Siemens is harnessing developments in Cleartone's Backoffice solutions to deliver an integrated intelligent software solution that can search LPR data based on an almost limitless combination of fields and values. The result is a powerful research and analytical tool which will allow the force to gather essential factual data, quickly and efficiently. It eliminates hours of painstaking desk and field investigations while reducing costs and increasing prosecution rates

Thames Valley Police has three specific applications for the system. “The technology is at its most powerful when used in an investigation to develop a line of enquiry,” said John Knight, Thames Valley LPR Manager. “A typical situation would be where we are alerted to an incident in a town centre involving a vehicle. We are able to research that town's LPR system for the car by any one or a combination of the make, model, colour, full registration number or partial registration number and can quickly establish a sequence of events and pin point the likely vehicle involved. In addition, in more serious cases, the same process allows us to build a witness list based on vehicles that were in the area at the time the incident took place. Ordinarily, this type of data would take many hours to collate. Now, with the help of our Force LPR intelligence team we can gather this information very easily via a local communications network and desktop PC.”

“We have numerous sites in the Thames Valley region, strategically located in areas which allow us to best tackle local criminals and those coming from outside the force area to commit crime,” Knight said. “We intend to target criminals through their use of the roads. The system is already generating a lot of interest and we have been approached by several other forces eager to see the system in action.”

“It is early days, but I am confident that this new technology will offer considerable cost savings in terms of time spent on investigations,” he said. “Plus we expect to see a significant rise in conviction rates for vehicle related crime.”

With static LPR cameras located at key hot spots within the road network, Thames Valley also use the LPR system in a proactive way to track traffic activity. In addition, mobile LPR units are deployed in vehicles for real-time licence plate reading through an in-car terminal. With a live link back to the control room, where an offense has been committed or a vehicle of interest identified, the appropriate action can be taken immediately.

Tony O'Brien, Business Development Director for Siemens said, “We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to further develop our LPR technology for Thames Valley Police. Producing a system which can save the force time and money can only be a positive thing. As I understand it, the aim is to have one central LPR system which all forces across the UK can access to share critical data — this will see our smart LPR technology at its most powerful.”

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