New technology is helping the Hong Kong Police Force enhance its law enforcement efficiency by enabling officers to identify suspicious car plates more quickly and automatically, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Police have installed a new system consisting of mobile digital closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) and a computer loaded with data from the Transport Department on the top of eight Audi A6 police cars since March 22 this year.
The system, which cost HK$1.4 million, is a new version of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system, which can automatically scan the plate numbers of passing cars within a range of 10 to 20 meters and compare them with a database in real-time fashion.
The system has been used mainly to identify three types of illegal vehicles: unlicensed vehicles, those licensed to disqualified drivers, and those licensed to people wanted for an outstanding traffic warrant. Now the new system also allows officers to locate stolen vehicles.
The Traffic Branch Headquarters (TBH) said the new system has scanned more than 100,000 plates as of Wednesday, resulting in the issuance of 215 violation tickets.
It has also led to the arrest of 15 drivers, TBH said.
By comparison, the old system placed at fixed locations was only able to scan 33,000 plates and resulted in the issuance of 10 fixed penalty tickets and the arrest of two drivers for the whole of 2018.
As the new system proved to be more efficient, police will spend another HK$3 million to acquire more units and install them on the 17 new police cars. They are not ruling out the use of the new system on undercover patrol vehicles.
TBH (Law Revision and Projects) Acting Chief Inspector Kerry Ku said the new system can save officers from a lot of trouble they encounter with the old one, which requires additional officers to intercept vehicles.
Ku assured the public that the new system will not be used to record people’s activities, and no information that police collect will be stored or used for intelligence analysis.
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