News story

Keeping criminals off our roads - Information Transfer overtakes the competition

Learning NewsActeon Communication and Learning

Communication consultancy Information Transfer has been selected to support a nationwide initiative to fight crime with the development of an e-learning programme on ANPR, to be used throughout all UK police forces.

ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras can tell police officers within seconds whether a vehicle has been stolen, is known to be involved in a crime, or is untaxed. It is the Association of Chief Police Officers' vision to have a dedicated ANPR capability in every Basic Command Unit, the aim being to 'deny criminals the use of the roads'.

In order to introduce police officers and staff to the system and familiarise them with the technology, the ACPO decided to produce an e-learning training and assessment programme to go out free to every single police force in the country. Frank Whiteley, the Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary and ACPO ANPR lead, selected communication consultancy, Information Transfer to develop the programme. Information Transfer is working to support ANPR managers as they translate their knowledge into effective learning materials.

Information Transfer was already working with one of the largest police forces, Thames Valley Police, developing a range of e-learning courses to support training on a variety of key areas: the policing of dual carriageways and motorways, and on working with witnesses in the criminal justice system. The programmes had been well received by users so the ACPO were confident Information Transfer could manage the project.

"We are delighted that the ACPO has asked us to develop the e-learning which accompanies this important weapon in the fight against crime. This is an ideal way of enabling all police officers and staff in England and Wales to appreciate the strengths of the new technology" said Debbie Ganz, Partner at Information Transfer working on the programme.

The finished e-learning programme will explain what ANPR is, how it works and will also highlight the legal responsibilities of staff and officers using the system. The programme will be offered on CD-ROM, or forces can access it over their intranet. It can also be uploaded onto the NCALT Managed Learning Environment.

How ANPR works: cameras scan and record the vehicle registration marks of every passing car. The numbers are then cross-checked against a number of databases, including the Police National Computer, the DVLA databases and police intelligence records, both locally and regionally, to identify vehicles of interest to officers. If a registration plate is flagged up on a database, the system alerts the operator with both a visual and audible signal, providing details of which database has triggered a hit. The ANPR operator can then call for officers to intercept the vehicle and question the driver.

NCALT (the National Centre for Applied Learning Technologies) was established in April 2002 as a partnership between Centrex and the Metropolitan Police Service, to provide e-learning and simulated operations exercises for operational police officers and civilian staff across the UK.