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What is ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition)?


ANPR cameras in a car park

What is ANPR & What Does it Stand For?

ANPR stands for Automatic Number Plate Recognition. Also known as LPR, Licence Plate Recognition, or sometimes ALPR: Automatic License Plate Recognition, although ALPR & LPR are more commonly used in the USA.

It is a CCTV system that is purely used to capture vehicle number plates. The image is then analysed and the VRM (Vehicle Registration Mark) – or number plate characters – are stored in a database along with the time the vehicle passed the camera.


In the images above, the image on the left shows the number plate captured from the camera. On the right is the extracted number plate data.

Automatic number plate recognition systems are a powerful tool used to monitor vehicle movements, enforce speed limits, control access rights, and gather statistics.

What Are the Benefits of ANPR?

Some of the key benefits of ANPR include…

Enforce parking rules and limits – ANPR can eliminate the need to manually patrol car parks, and provide increased security and revenue by ensuring that every vehicle has a valid ticket or permit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Enforcing speed limits – Monitoring of vehicle speed through controlled areas. This can be done using multiple cameras checking the time taken to pass two points. This is commonly used on the UK motorway to enforce speed limits during highway maintenance.

Monitor statistics of vehicle movements – Such as entry/exit times, traffic counting, and the number of visitors and busiest times, etc. Vehicle statistics can prove a valuable tool to show busy periods and compare data by the hour, day, week, month and year. The dwell time provides data on how long customers are spending at your site.

High risk area control – Providing enhanced security by automatically screening vehicles, used in applications such as airports and border control. Real time alerts can be set for known target vehicles, providing advanced notice to reception or security with a full audit trail and acknowledgement.

Access control – ANPR can remove the need to supply tokens or fobs to users of car parks that use automated gates or barrier systems to control vehicle access. This allows for a much better flow of traffic and simpler administration, with no tickets to issue or fobs to lose.

Key ANPR Users & Applications

Police ANPR

The Police are the largest user of ANPR in the UK, with over 11,000 cameras, covering almost every Motorway and A Road. These are connected to a central database and used for detection and prevention of crime. Currently this data is stored for 2 years to assist with historical vehicle tracking.

Parking ANPR

ANPR is now common in car parks across the UK. This allows enforcement of parking rules without the costs and issues of a parking warden manually ticketing offending vehicles. It can also provide other benefits such as completely ticketless parking.

ANPR can also be used to provide additional security with normal ticketed parking, by matching the number plate to the ticket issued. This means only the ticket issued to the car will allow exit from the car park.

ANPR also allows free flow car parks, where there are no barriers at entry or exit, to maximise revenue. Ensuring every vehicle parked has paid the right fee or hasn’t overstayed the free parking time.

Bailiffs & Tax Enforcement

In vehicle ANPR is commonly used by the DVLA to find untaxed / uninsured vehicles. In more recent times bailiffs have been using the technology to locate cars due for re-possession.

ANPR Case Studies

We’ve written a number of case studies and blog posts about our ANPR work if you’d like to learn more about ANPR and its applications:

About Guard Tech Security

Guard Tech Ltd have knowledge and experience within many ANPR environments.

From hospitals to shopping centres around the country with multiple entry/exit points to standalone car parks, we have a solution to fit your needs.

We can integrate parking applications with direct links to cloud-based providers like Zatpark and iView as well as pay and display ticket machines.

In addition to our other services, we have received great feedback from our clients regarding the installation of ANPR systems and the overall service that we provide. But do not take our word for it – see our testimonials to find out what our happy customers are saying.

Should you wish to find out more about ANPR systems or would like to discuss whether the installation of ANPR will work for your business, then please get in touch. Guard Tech Ltd cover all of the UK and can also work with local contractors further afield. Find out more about our ANPR solutions and deployable solution.

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