ANPR: Why would I need Numberplate Recognition?

Engineer working on a CCTV camera
Anthony Crowdie

Anthony Crowdie

We’ve recently noticed a sharp increase in the number of enquiries we receive for ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras to be installed. With installations from Milford Haven to Maenclochog, we look at what ANPR can do and why you might want to think about it.

ANPR cameras are exactly that – cameras which read and interpret the number plates displayed on vehicles passing by. This type of CCTV camera can be used in a wide variety of different places and for different reasons. So – why might you opt for an ANPR camera over a standard CCTV camera?

ANPR is widely used worldwide and is becoming increasingly common, particularly at sensitive or secure locations, or for law enforcement applications. ANPR cameras ‘read’ the number plates of passing vehicles and can do a number of things with the information – such as feed the registration number into a database for analysis later, trigger an alert if a particular vehicle passes by or even open an electronic gate automatically. Most frequently, we see ANPR used at sensitive sites such as storage yards and remote properties. Our ANPR systems can be set up with a whitelist or a blacklist, with alert messages sent via mobile app if a vehicle registration does or doesn’t match what is on the pre-set list. 

Although they look similar to standard CCTV cameras, ANPR cameras have different internal workings in order to be able to understand the different text and font sizes present on number plates of various different vehicles. Our ANPR cameras also function in very poor lighting conditions (i.e. at night) and can still read plates even if there is no external lighting source. 

When connected to a suitable recorder, ANPR cameras can keep a database of number plates which can be searched and recalled for several weeks or months (if required). A short clip of each vehicle can be stored, showing which way the vehicle went, with a date and timestamp. This means that historical searching based on vehicle registration number, date and time can take place.

In terms of cost, ANPR cameras generally cost 3 or 4 times more than a standard HD IP camera – but if you need to be able to identify the vehicles coming and going from your premises, they could be a must-have.

Get in touch if you’d like more information about how ANPR could improve your security in West Wales.