Shepparton police car first in the region with number plate recognition technology

By Liz Mellino

There is a new kid on the block in the Shepparton highway patrol unit — a mobile automated number plate recognition vehicle.

The BMW 520d arrived in town last week as a new addition to the fleet of highway patrol vehicles.

The vehicle's technology automatically detects number plates and matches them to information relating to stolen number plates and vehicles, unregistered vehicles, as well as the drivers linked to the vehicles and whether they are suspended, disqualified or unlicensed.

With the number plate recognition vehicle already being put to good use to patrol Greater Shepparton roads, Shepparton Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Michael Jarrett warned drivers they would be caught if doing the wrong thing.

“The vehicle scans number plates and matches them against a database of vehicles of interest,” he said.

“The vehicle is also equipped with the usual tools of the trade — moving mode speed detection devices, laser speed detection, in-car video — they are well equipped pieces of machinery.”

The vehicle is one of 221 automated number plate recognition vehicles deployed across the state as part of Victoria Police's vehicle upgrade.

Sgt Jarrett said this was not the first time a vehicle of this sort had been used in Shepparton, with the highway patrol unit having had access to one a few years ago.

“Shepparton was the first regional non-metropolitan policing area to have this number plate recognition technology that they were utilising in Melbourne,” he said.

“It must have been deemed a success because every highway patrol car will now be equipped with this automated number plate technology.”

The vehicle is a welcome addition to the fleet, and Sgt Jarrett said it would help police detect more offenders.

“Motorists in the Shepparton area are now to be aware if they are unlicensed, suspended disqualified or unregistered there is a much greater chance they are going to be detected and prosecuted.”