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Unregistered car drivers rejoice! Cops kill buggy auto plate recognition

Western Australia's software could recognise plates, couldn't recognise grace period for overdue payments

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Western Australian police are switching off automatic licence plate recognition scanners because they are detecting too many unregistered vehicles.

The scanners were deluging officers with false-positive alerts for unregistered vehicles driven within the 15 day grace period the state offers to allow tardy residents to make late payments to the Department of Transport.

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan told a budget estimates hearing police had switched off the system.

"We've turned off that unlicensed alert because of the high number of alerts we get that we can't cope with," O'Callaghan said in an ABC NewsRadio broadcast.

Back in 2009, the state replaced a manual checking system that required car registration stickers to be placed on vehicles with the automatic recognition system deployed across the state's police car fleet.

Premier Colin Barnett said at the time it would save $2m in printing and postage costs over four years.

"That simple measure will save a lot of time and bother for some 2.2 million vehicles and their owners in this state and it will also save around $500,000 a year," Barnett said.

The Register has asked the WA Department of Transport if the system would be updated so that it could determine vehicles unregistered during the grace period.

NSW was the first Australian state to deploy automatic license plate recognition systems which are now used across the country.

Several plate recognition evasion techniques existed including covers, sprays and infrared lasers which could foil the ability for scanners to read license plates. These techniques may be considered illegal.®

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