On 3 September 2009, the Premier and the Minister for Infrastructure announced a number of initiatives that would be implemented with the objective of reducing Tasmania’s road toll, including the purchase of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and software for police to focus on unlicensed and disqualified drivers.

ANPR technology has been in use in law enforcement agencies around the world for many years and can be used in a variety of settings, including intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism surveillance, border protection and customs operations, but is predominantly used for traffic law enforcement operations.

ANPR works through the creation of ‘watch lists’ for vehicles of interest alerts which are then loaded onto the laptop computer. These lists can be created for alerts including vehicles listed as stolen, vehicles with an expired registration or defect, and vehicles whose registered owner is recorded as disqualified from driving, or holding cancelled or suspended licences. When a vehicle which is listed on one of the watch lists passes the ANPR camera, a message appears on the attached laptop computer advising the operator of the nature of the alert, prompting an interception.

ANPR devices provide for a more efficient process which improves the detection and enforcement of traffic laws, particularly those relating to registration and licensing.