- Did legislators create a conflict between Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?
- Road safety groups in Gloucestershire were concerned they might be stopped from using information from ANPR cameras to track down dangerous drivers
- The Gloucestershire Community ANPR Road Safety Group (GCARSG ) raised the issue with the Surveillance Camera Commissioner
- GCARSG chairman Charles Pedrick said, “Thanks to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), we now have official accreditation. I think the PCC and his office deserve great credit because without the funding and their support, the system might have been turned off”.
It was the battle of the acronyms. ANPR versus GDPR. Automatic Number Plate Recognition v General Data Protection Regulation.
Would a system designed to identify law breaking motorists be compromised by legislation aimed at safeguarding personal information?
Road safety groups in Gloucestershire, many of them supported and funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) were concerned they might be stopped from using cameras that recognise number plates and using the information to track down dangerous drivers.
Now, following a challenge from a body in Stroud, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, a Home Office appointed watchdog, has declared the use of ANPR for tracking speeding motorists ethical and legitimate.
The chairman of the GCARSG – Gloucestershire Community ANPR Road Safety Group, Charles Pedrick, said, “GDPR had looked like ending the use of data from community speed cameras, many of which are funded and supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office and parish councils.
“But thanks to the financial support of the OPCC, we were able to mount a challenge. That has resulted in GCARSG getting accreditation and now other local schemes can take similar action with the reasonable expectation of being accredited too.
“I think the PCC and his office deserve great credit because without the funding and their support, the system might have been turned off. Instead, the assessor stated that he was happy we are using an ANPR system and we have a certificate to prove it”.
“Another example of the commitment of local road safety groups to make their communities safer”
Unlike conventional speed cameras ANPR can record a vehicle’s speed, number plate, time, date and photograph it. The software can also record dates which can be used to identify persistent speeders who would be given a warning by letter – and in the most extreme cases a visit from the police.
The assessment by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner looked at surveillance camera systems in the context of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. It found that number plates did not have any personal information attached to them until translated by either the DVLA or the Police National Computer.
It concluded that groups like the Gloucestershire Community ANPR Road Safety Group could share number plates, in the interest of Crime Prevention and Road Safety, for the benefit of our communities in partnership with the Police.
PCC Martin Surl said, “Helping local communities, who know their roads best, is an integral part of my Safe and Social Roads policy [formerly Safe and Social Driving] and I was happy to support the Rodborough Road Safety Working Group in this.
“Whilst it was reassuring that ANPR camera systems are being demonstrably operated ethically and legitimately to an appropriate standard, it is also another example of their commitment to making their community safer”.