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Richmond RCMP gets 'second pair of eyes' to track traffic violations

The new technology is being used to combat a rise in uninsured vehicles, as well as other violations.
Richmond RCMP's Road Safety Unit is ramping up its ability to read licence plates with the help of a specially equipped police vehicle.

Police are using specialized software to boost their ability to identify vehicles making traffic violations amid a rise of uninsured vehicles spotted in Richmond.

Richmond RCMP announced last week that they enlisted the help of a "specially equipped" police vehicle using Automated Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology as their "second set of eyes."

The technology uses specialized software and multiple infrared cameras and is operated by a specially trained police officer.

It can read up to 3,000 licence plates per hour, which is "several orders of magnitude faster than any police officer could input the data into a computer," said Cpl. Dennis Hwang, Richmond RCMP spokesperson.

He added the ALPR system can read licence plates accurately under "challenging situations," including non-standard heights such as commercial tractor trailers, highly contrasting light situations and plates obscured by mud.

It is being used to spot drivers who are unlicensed, suspended or prohibited from driving, as well as licence plates linked to individuals with arrest warrants.

"Individuals operating a vehicle without a valid driver’s licence pose a risk to all road users who are operating within the confines of the BC Motor Vehicle Act," said Staff Sgt. Paula Maan, noncommissioned officer in-charge of operations support. 

"We are committed to road safety and keeping Richmond road users safe. The ALPR is an example of one of many initiatives our Road Safety Unit are utilizing throughout the month."

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