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Devon force divulges ANPR towns online

TV promo website spills the beans

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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Devon and Cornwall Police has published the location of some of its road surveillance cameras on its website, despite these normally being secret.

The webpage, which publicised the force's appearance in Crimefighters, a fly on the wall ITV1 series, says the force has Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems running in Torquay, Brixham and Dawlish in Devon.

This is in contrast to the force's response to a Freedom of Information request from Kable, in which it refused to divulge any information whatsoever on the location of its ANPR equipment.

The page said ANPR "allows officers to use CCTV to monitor vehicles and use their registrations to call up details of the owners on a huge database". The programme, which has already been broadcast, featured the work of different specialist units within the force including the traffic police.

However, in a Freedom of Information response to questions including the location of its ANPR equipment, the force said: "If the locations of these cameras were published, potential criminals would know where they are, and could bypass/avoid them or destroy them entirely. This would mean that the Force would be less able to detect and reduce crime on the roads."

A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said that naming the towns was not the same as saying on which road the ANPR cameras are located: "They are quite big places, and they could be anywhere in the towns, so we wouldn't have an issue with that."

The page divulging towns where the force uses ANPR had been removed during the last few weeks, although it is still visible through search engine caching services. The spokesperson said that it is down as part of a redevelopment of the force's website, and similar information might appear in future.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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