Automatic Licence Plate Recognition

Automatic Licence Plate Recognition

The Ottawa Police Service uses an Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) vehicle, a device which helps police ensure road safety by identifying a variety of Highway Traffic Act (HTA) infractions, including stolen licence plates and suspended or unlicensed drivers.

This piece of technology has been an enormous help in identifying drivers who should not be on the road.

An ALPR can identify:

  • Stolen licence plates
  • Misuse of plates
  • Driving whilst disqualified (CC)
  • Driving whilst suspended (HTA)
  • Unlicensed driver
  • Expired validation
  • Persons wanted on warrant

It can also alert officers of the presence of vehicles involved in serious crimes or wanted in instances of Amber Alerts..

The system views licence plates and compares them to a provincial database. If any irregularities are found, it alerts the officer. The system can view up to 5000 plates an hour, and is also in use by other police services in Canada.

“The Ottawa Police abide by privacy guidelines, based on our consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner,” said Sgt. Robert Cairns, Escort and Traffic Support Services. “Non-hit vehicles will be deleted from the database immediately; whereas positive hits will be retained for five years on the system for disclosure purposes.”

Ottawa Police first began using ALPR technology in 2016.

Funding for the purchase of the ALPR units has come from the Safer Roads Ottawa Program.